Golden Crusted Brussel Sprouts

I have found that those nutty bitter crunchy things I had when I was a kid are not the best example of what brussel sprouts are all about.  I’m a newcomer, sure, but as a reformed brussie hater I now pimp them out to others. Only when I make ’em they taste good.I feel I’ve truly come full circle.

If you are fat conscious, ditch the sprinkle of gruyere.  I did and I can honestly say it wasn’t a HUGELY missed.  If however you are NOT fat conscious or you are entertaining, use duck fat instead of olive oil. Seriously. They will make you weep. Big fatty boombah tears sure, but worth every calorie. And your formerly brussie-hating guests will be born again into the world of brussie-love.

Heidi’s Tips:

Look for brussels sprouts that are on the small size and tightly closed. The tiny ones cook through quickly, whereas larger ones tend to brown on the outside long before the insides are done. When the weather is mild, I finish them with a lighter, salty cheese, like Parmesan, but if it’s stormy and cold, I opt for a heavier, more melty cheese, like a regular or smoked Gouda (or gruyere).

Try not to overcook them, and eat them as soon as they come of the stove if at all possible.

I finished them off with some toasted hazelnuts the other night – delicious


  • 24 small brussels sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for rubbing
  • fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese of your choice (I choose gruyere)
  • Wash the brussels sprouts well.
  • Trim the stem ends and remove any raggy outer leaves.
  • Cut in half from stem to top and gently rub each half with olive oil, keeping it intact (or if you are lazy just toss them in a bowl with a glug of olive oil).
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in your largest skillet over medium heat. Don’t overheat the skillet, or the outsides of the brussels sprouts will cook too quickly.
  • Place the brussels sprouts in the pan flat side down (single-layer), sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt, cover, and cook for roughly 5 minutes; the bottoms of the sprouts should only show a hint of browning.
  • Cut into or taste one of the sprouts to gauge whether they’re tender throughout. If not, cover and cook for a few more minutes.
  • Once just tender, uncover, turn up the heat, and cook until the flat sides are deep brown and caramelized.
  • Use a metal spatula to toss them once or twice to get some browning on the rounded side.
  • Season with more salt, a few grinds of pepper, and a dusting of grated cheese.
  • While you might be able to get away with keeping a platter of these warm in the oven for a few minutes, they are exponentially tastier if popped in your mouth immediately.

Serves 4.

Recipe: Heidi Swanson


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