Today at the Farmers Market in the nearby town to Darlington I was pleased to find that fresh Brussels sprouts were still available, even though there is now a dusting of snow on the ground in the Hudson River Valley. As I've written before, Dear Reader, Brussels sprouts are one of my favorite vegetables.
It was only as an adult that I learned that the little darlings grow on a stalk. As a child I knew them only from the frozen packages that MD bought at our local supermarket. By the time I entered college I learned they were also available in an unfrozen state, usually packaged in little paper buckets sealed with cellophane.
Today I prefer whenever possible to buy Brussels sprouts on the stalk, as I know they will be the freshest of all. Fortunately one can find them that way at our local Farmers Market in late autumn, when they are in peak season.
We like to roast or sautée Brussels sprouts at Darlington, preferring these methods of cooking to steaming them or, as MD did, boiling them in water. As I've written before, MD was an uninspired cook, and her Brussels sprouts (along with most of the vegetables she cooked) were a soggy, sodden affair.
I'm sure that MD would approve of the way we cook Brussels sprouts today at Darlington, which is to toss them with olive oil, liberally season them with ground pepper and salt, and (often) combine them with other winter vegetables (I'm showing them here with shallots). Roasted in a hot oven until caramelized and tender, they are positively ambrosial.
Photographs by Boy Fenwick