What's in Season

What’s in Season: Brussels Sprouts

Who says Brussels sprouts have to be bitter?

Illustration: John Burgoyne

Chefs Terrence Gallivan and Seth Siegel-Gardner of the Pass & Provisions in Houston aren’t above passing blame for the Brussels sprout’s notoriously bad rap. “At some point between the discovery of fire and now, everyone was told to cook the s*** out of Brussels sprouts so they taste like poison,” Siegel-Gardner says. But a little creativity can combat those mini-cabbage mishaps. “We use the outer leaves for a cold salad while the hearts can be charred to bring out the sweeter side,” Gallivan says. Introduced to the South when eighteenth-century French settlers brought them to Louisiana, Brussels sprouts are available throughout February. Look for tightly closed, bright green bunches with a bit of shine to them—if they are still on the stalk, even better. The chefs’ favorite prep is to simply roast them in a 400-degree oven with garlic and fresh-grated Parmesan for 15 to 20 minutes (to release natural sugars without turning them to mush). Or shave them raw and toss with a vinaigrette and bacon. As Siegel-Gardner says, “Every ingredient has beauty, and it is the challenge of the chef to extract it.” Follow his lead and you’ll never again doubt the sprout.