Pan-browned Brussels Sprouts

Growing up, I never had a strong aversion to Brussels sprouts. Perhaps it’s because I hardly encountered them, and if I did have that sickly, limp, overly bitter version remembered and reviled by so many people, I must have conveniently blocked it from my mind. (Lima beans, however, are a different story.)

So when I first found this dish featured on Smitten Kitchen, I was happy to find a recipe for Brussels sprouts, period. Little did I know that it would transform the lowly, oft-dismissed sprout into a golden god in the minds of all who ate it, especially those reliving the childhood trauma of sitting down to these mini cabbages. And oh, am I glad I found it. They come out warm and welcoming, their beautiful browned flavor accented by roasted pine nuts. The garlic flavor does not overwhelm the dish, but rather serves as a mellow undertone. We scooped them up with expressions of delight–partially, of course, because we were eating brussels sprouts (ew? never!), but more, I think, because these were just simply divine.

Pan Browned Brussels Sprouts
adapted from

1/2 lb Brussels sprouts
2 large garlic cloves (I used 1)
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp pine nuts

Trim Brussels sprouts and halve lengthwise. Cut garlic into very thin slices. In a 10-inch heavy skillet (preferably well-seasoned cast iron) melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil over moderate heat and cook garlic, stirring, until pale golden. Transfer garlic with a slotted spoon to a small bowl. Reduce heat to low and arrange sprouts in skillet, cut sides down, in one layer. Sprinkle sprouts with pine nuts and salt to taste. Cook sprouts, without turning, until crisp-tender and undersides are golden brown, about 15 minutes.

With tongs transfer sprouts to a plate, browned sides up. Add garlic and remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter to skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until pine nuts are more evenly pale golden, about 1 minute. Spoon mixture over sprouts and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.


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