Foodie on the Half Shell: Say yes to Brussels sprouts (especially during the holidays)

Photo: Jeff Turner (

Brussels sprouts get way too bad of a rap for what they really are. People think that they are yucky because we are raised to think that way. These little balls of leafy goodness are delicious and very good for you. Brussels sprouts contain a helpful natural chemical called sulforaphane which has been known to be an “anti-cancer” chemical.

This notorious vegetable tastes very similar to cabbage when it is raw, but its natural sugars are released when cooked, creating a very enjoyable food. My favorite way of preparing Brussels sprouts is to grill them or roast them with some EVOO, balsamic vinegar, some salt and tons of pepper. Because of the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar, the outsides of the Brussels sprouts get caramelized and crispy. These supposedly evil vegetables are my favorite and complete my holidays.

I thought that it was about time that I give you guys a recipe of my own to show you that I’m not entirely talk. I am going to give you a recipe that is a very near and dear recipe and one that I usually like to keep to myself, like most of my recipes! I’ve realized, though, that I can only help people if I share some of my ideas.

It is a Brussels sprout gratin that I serve every holiday season that you can adopt into your seasonal spread every year. I started this heavenly casserole about four years ago on Thanksgiving. The original recipe that I used the first year was from a Williams-Sonoma magazine, but I have moved on and added my own twists and turns. Do not be afraid of this only because of the vegetable choice, but look forward to embracing this new food into your everyday life.

So, here we are everyone! My entire family and friends’ favorite holiday dish I make that I like to call the “Brussels Sprouts Awareness Gratin.”

 You will need:
2 lbs of Brussels sprouts
8 oz of Gruyere cheese
2 cups bread crumbs
Handful of good quality Parmesan
1 lemon
1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of caramelized onion
3 cloves of crushed garlic
A few pinches of cayenne pepper
Some salt and some pepper for taste

First, you are going to clean the Brussels. Take off the bruised outside leaves, and cut them in half. Next you will bring the Brussels to boil in salted water until they are tender. Strain, and rinse with cold water to cease cooking.

While the Brussels are coming to a boil you will want to make your topping mix to go on top of the creamy Brussels gratin. Mix the breadcrumbs, lemon juice, salt and pepper and Parmesan.

To make the gratin, you will mix the boiled Brussels with the cream, the Gruyere cheese, the caramelized onion, the cayenne pepper and the crushed garlic. You will mix this all up until the Brussels are well covered in the creamy mix. Spread the gratin into a 5X13 pan and top with the breadcrumb mix. Put in the oven at 375F, and cook for about 30 minutes or until the gratin is bubbly and browned at the top. Finito! Enjoy!