As the runt of the cabbage family, Brussels sprouts take their fair share of abuse. Which is why Nathan Chambers, chef at the Covington beer and sausage haus, Wunderbar, likes to give them some extra-special love. Forget the boiled-to-death sprouts you remember choking down at Grandma’s house. Cooked to order, these baby brassicas are crispy-yet-tender and infused with a deep, caramelized flavor. “Everyone comes for the homemade sausages, but they always leave raving about the Brussels sprouts,” says Chambers. I feel a sudden sprout conversion coming on.
For the sprouts:
4 cups (about 1 pound) Brussels sprouts (the smaller the sprouts, the more evenly they’ll cook)
¾ cup olive oil
Wunderbar Spice Mix, to taste
For the Wunderbar Spice Mix:
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1. Rinse the Brussels sprouts thoroughly and drain. Meanwhile, combine the spice mix ingredients. Pat away any residual water from the sprouts. Quarter each one by slicing the root off the bottom, allowing it to sit flat on the cutting board, then safely cut into quarters. Discard any blemished leaves that fall off in the process.
2. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil until it glistens. Add the spice mix to taste and allow the flavors to bloom for 20 seconds.
3. Add the sprouts and give the pan a good shake (or stir with a large spoon) to coat evenly with oil and spices. If the sprouts become dry, drizzle in a bit more olive oil. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, tossing or stirring frequently, until the sprouts are evenly browned and fragrant, careful not to let the delicate outer leaves burn. Serve immediately with sausage, pork, or chicken.
You want them nearly charred. “As close as you can get them to black without being burnt, the better they taste,” says Chambers.