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By Laura Stec

Ode to Brussels Sprout

Uploaded: Oct 16, 2014

Brussels sprout, Brussels sprout, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee for your crunch when I sauté you just slight.
I love thee for your warmth when the fall turns into night.
I love thee caramelized with crisp bacon and some parm.
I love thee halved and baked with maple syrup and Dijon.
Dearest Brussels sprout, you are so misunderstood.
Given another chance, you will love them, yes you would.

Brussels sprout season is upon us. They are being harvested in Half Moon Bay as we speak. I know, I know, the name is weird (why is it "Brussels" instead of "Brussel?"), and many of you are still recovering from being fed boiled Brussels as a child.

I feel your pain. Your hesitation to reconnect.

But times have changed and now we know Brussels sprouts don't relate to water very well. In fact, we have scientific proof!

So fears understood.

Answer? Keep water as far away from Brussels as possible and they become richly caramelized and sweet. Bake them, sauté, or live dangerously and do the him and the hers. Handle them right and they'll tell you their secrets.

Here's my favorite fast way to tame the beast. Tested many a time on disbelieving corporate types and Silicon Valley geeks who "hate Brussels sprouts, really?."

"Hey, but this one isn't that bad."

How do you like yours?

Maple Dijon Brussels Sprouts

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups slivered Brussels sprouts
salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl, combine mustard and maple syrup. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in medium sauté pan to medium high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and sauté, 4-5 minutes or until a brighter green with speckles of caramelized brown. If you want to add a touch of steam which can improve the results, give a few spritz with a spray bottle filed with water. Add in the maple dijon mixture to taste. Season with salt and pepper. Let the sauce thicken and coat the veggies; this happens quickly. Stir and serve.

NOTE: Stop stirring so much. People stir, stir, stir. You want Brussels to brown / caramelize. So stir to incorporate the oil, and then put down the spoon. Let Brussels interact with the heat. Stir a few times during the cooking process, when you need to flip, meld flavors, or prevent burning. You want to achieve that fine balance between moisture (bright ish green) and caramelization. (light/dark brown)

Brussels growing in Half Moon Bay last week

If you slice them very thin ? doubters won't even know they are Brussels sprouts!

Don't be scaaaaarrrred - all comments entered to win a trip to the Fancy Food Show. Eat your way thru this culinary extravaganza and get interviewed on your favorite new trends. Winner announced Nov 27th.