Brussels sprouts have gotten a bad rap over the years, evoking an image of a scornful mother standing over her tearful children as they finish their Brussels sprouts before going outside to play. It’s time to shake off this misconception and take a closer look at this fascinating little vegetable.
“What I like about Brussels sprouts is that they are essentially small, compact cabbages with a lot of vitamin C and quite a bit of versatility,” says Barrio owner and chef Steven Draheim. Just like a regular cabbage, Brussels sprouts can be shredded and used for slaw or fermented and made into kraut or kimchi. Starchier than regular cabbage, Brussels sprouts can also be fried, the extra starch allowing them to get nice and crispy. The touch of bitterness found in Brussels sprouts also mixes well with—and stands up to—assertive flavors like bacon, mustard, vinegar, and strong reductions, giving Brussels sprouts added versatility.
At Barrio, Brussels sprouts can be found skewered, grilled, and slathered with bacon jam, pomegranate seeds, and blue cheese. (Yes, slathered. With bacon jam.) They’re also on the tapas menu: blanched and sauteed with chorizo, garlic, hominy, and grain mustard, and finished with a hard cider reduction that uses maple syrup and topped with Danish blue cheese.