I'm convinced that if Brussels sprouts were called baby cabbages, they'd have a wider fan base. But as it stands, most Americans, haunted by childhood threats to finish their mushy, pale green sprouts before dessert, declare they can't stand the cute little minis. And that's a shame. When properly cooked, fresh Brussels sprouts have a divinely delicate flavor.
My favorite preparation is roasted; while I've got the oven cranked up on high, I throw in some broccoli for those who absolutely won't be swayed, and fruits and nuts, too. The combination sounds outrageous, but trust me: It's a roasted sensation and, not to mention, good for you. This recipe gets an A-plus on the nutritional scale. Even though half the calories come from fat, it's the best kind of fat for you -- from the olive oil and walnuts!
As a cool weather crop, Brussels sprouts are almost out of season, so get fresh ones while you can. Look for small, compact, bright green heads. Keep them in the refrigerator when you get home, but cook them within a day or two for the best results.
• Contact Alicia Ross at Kitchen Scoop, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or firstname.lastname@example.org. More at the Kitchen Scoop website, kitchenscoop.com.