March 21, 2013

Perfect Brussels Sprouts

I love brussel sprouts.  They are beautiful little pockets of healthy goodness that just need a few minutes of cooking time, with some olive oil, salt & pepper and a touch of butter.  According to World's Healthiest Foods, don't  overcook Brussels sprouts. Not only do they lose their nutritional value and taste but they will begin to emit the unpleasant sulfur smell associated with overcooked cruciferous vegetables. To help Brussels sprouts cook more quickly and evenly cut each sprout into quarters (I  halve them). Let them sit for at least 5 minutes to bring out the health-promoting qualities and then steam them for 5 minutes. 
My advice would be to steam, then pan sear them with the salt and pepper and finish with acompound butter, maybe my Tarragon with Honey.  
1 lb. brussel sprouts, ends sliced off and haled
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh ground pepper
2 Tbsp. butter, or less if desired

In a skillet, heat oil on medium.
Sprinkle bottom of pan with salt and pepper.
Place sprout cut side down in pan.
Cook about 2 minutes, then stir and coat with oil. 
Remove from heat and finish with the butter.  

Note:  I sometimes like to use a compound butter for extra fun, but they don't need it! You can even omit the butter or oil if you are watching calories.  Use the butter on the bottom if you still want some fat. Steam them first to achieve maximum health benefits. 

Health benefits
  • A recent study has shown improved stability of DNA inside of our white blood cells
  • Brussels sprouts contain  the chemical starting point for a variety of cancer-protective substances. All cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates and have great health benefits for this reason. But it's recent research that's made us realize how especially valuable Brussels sprouts are in this regard.
  • The fiber-related components in Brussels sprouts do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they've been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it's easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels.
Consume Brussels sprouts and other vegetables from the cruciferous vegetable group 4-5 times per week and increase your serving size to 2 cups.

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