High-heat roasting gives unique flavor to sprout side dish

  • Roasting Brussels sprouts results in a caramelized, slightly crisp exterior.

    Roasting Brussels sprouts results in a caramelized, slightly crisp exterior.

 
Updated 12/29/2015 1:42 PM

Who doesn't like Brussels sprouts? Actually, most people I know don't like them. But once they experience my take on these baby cabbages I find that many Brussels sprouts naysayers become happy converts. I think I know the reason why.

Something happens to Brussels sprouts when they undergo high-heat roasting. They turn from a watery, blah-tasting green to become little gems, caramelized and slightly crisp on the outside and just cooked through on the inside. Really, all that is necessary is a light coating of olive oil and a good quality seasoning salt to bring all the flavors together.

 

This is a great side dish in the cooler months. The pomegranate seeds look like tiny red jewels and offer a festive winter touch. For even more color and texture add one-half pound of carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces, to the sprouts, along with an extra tablespoon of olive oil, and roast until the carrots are tender.

Serve the sprouts as a side dish for simple grilled meats, roasted chicken or roasted lamb. You can even double the recipe: Use two baking sheets, place them on separate oven racks and switch them halfway through the roasting time.

If you are lucky enough to have any left over, you can use them to make a jewel of a vegetable salad with a glistening of your favorite vinaigrette. For an extra punch of flavor, omit the pomegranate seeds and add some crumbled, crispy bacon bits just before serving. Just make sure there are no vegetarians in the group.

• Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including "Seriously Simple Parties," and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Seeds

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved if large

2 tablespoons olive oil

Favorite seasoning salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Arrange the Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet with sides. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Using tongs, evenly coat the sprouts with the seasonings. Make sure that the sprouts all lay flat on the pan.

Roast, turning the sprouts once with the tongs, for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. The timing will depend on the size of the sprouts.

Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with pomegranate seeds, and serve immediately.

Advance Preparation: Make up to four hours ahead of time. Cover and keep at room temperature. Reheat in a 350 F oven for about 10 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6

-- Diane Rossen Worthington