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It’s like the presidential race: either you’re on one side of the aisle or you’re on the other. Either you love Brussels or you gag at the idea of them. If you’re a gagger, I probably can’t sway you to my side of the aisle, but if you’re leaning across the aisle and are open-minded about another point of view, this recipe might win your vote.
I don’t know why Brussels are so vehemently despised, but it’s likely due to bland and boring cooking techniques. Brussels are just mini-cabbage and people don’t generally hate cabbage, so I think they’ve gotten a bad rap. Recently I got a big bag of ginormous Brussels in my Bountiful Basket.
SIDEBAR: While I grow a lot of my own veggies, I also get tons of produce from Bountiful Baskets, which is an all volunteer food co-op that distributes produce baskets to participants every other week in communities all around the country. To me, the best part – well there are two best parts: the first best part is that a basket is only $15 and the second best part is you never know what you’re going to get! Surprise produce! My tiny community just started participating in the co-op this summer and I have so much fun figuring out what to do with my basket items every two weeks. I end up trying new fruits (have I mentioned that while I love veggies, I’m not exactly a fruit enthusiast?) and veggies that I would have ignored at the store. If you’re not growing a garden, or you want to supplement your garden, you should really check out Bountiful Baskets to see if they are coming to your area – and if not, you could help start a new site.
Anyway, where was I? OH, I got some Brussels in my basket a few weeks ago and wanted to try out some new recipes. The Hubs loves Brussels (because he love cabbage), but when I made the first batch, using this recipe for maple cayenne roasted Brussels, he looked skeptical and said, “I don’t know about this. I like them cooked the regular way.” When pressed about what the regular way might be, he didn’t have a clear answer and started eating instead. Of course he thoroughly enjoyed them and forgot about that other regular way.
Easy win. But, I had a lot more Brussels to get through, so I decided to try something new the next time I made them. I call them Crispy Parmy Sprouties (leaving out the Brussels part is my way of being covert).
The concept is pretty basic and one that will work with many other veggies, like zucchini, eggplant, carrots, onions – ooo, and I just thought of asparagus, which would be really yummy done this way. Easy process: dip in egg, dip in seasoned panko (breadcrumbs) and bake.
Start with clean, dry Brussels. Discard any brown leaves and slice in half lengthwise.
The crispy part comes from the panko breadcrumbs. If you haven’t used panko yet, it’s very versatile – and inexpensive – and you can use to coat chicken, veggies, seafood, etc., but it’s lighter than regular breadcrumbs. It’s what they use to make the breading on crunchy Japanese fried shrimp, veggies, etc. You can find it in the baking aisle of the grocery store nowdays. If you are making this tonight and don’t have panko, use regular breadcrumbs. Grate the Parmesan cheese (you can sub asiago, or other hard cheese, but you MAY NOT use that dry stuff in a green shaker can that they sell in the Chef Boyardee aisle!) and mix with the panko bread crumbs in a shallow plate or pie pan. Add the spices and mix by hand.
Beat an egg (or a couple of egg whites) in shallow bowl. Dip the Brussels in the egg, then in the panko/parm mixture.
Roll those Brussels around and press the mixture into the egg coating, then place on the baking sheet.
Pop into the preheated oven and cook for approximately 20-30 minutes. My sprouts were huge, so they took about 30 minutes, but check yours at 20. They should be crispy and golden brown – and you will smell the cabbage aroma. Poke them with a knife to make sure they are fork-tender inside. I like mine more done than not, so I tend to let them get fairly soft inside and crispy on the outside. If you want to get them crispy on all sides, carefully (think tongs not spatula) flip them halfway through the cooking time.
Crispy Parmy Sprouties
- 6 Brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
- 1 egg (or two egg whites)
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- pinch of salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray (or cover in foil and spray for easier clean up).
- Break egg into a shallow bowl and lightly beat.
- Combine panko, Parmesan, Italian seasonings, garlic and salt and pepper in a shallow dish or pie pan.
- Dip each Brussel half into egg, then into panko mixture. Toss to coat well and lightly press mixture onto sprout.
- Place on baking sheet, sprinkle remaining panko mixture over Brussels on sheet (we don’t want to waste those yummies!)
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, carefully turning once halfway through cooking time. Brussels are done when you can smell them, are fork-tender and golden brown and crispy on the outside.
- Serve and eat immediately for best taste!
Notes for next time: Hubs had no criticisms to offer on this one! Next time, I might lightly spray the uncooked sprouts with some cooking spray just before baking for even more crispiness. Another idea – to cut cooking time – is to cut the Brussels into quarters instead of just halves. OH, and pizza sauce or marinara might make a fun dipping sauce.