Who Doesn’t Like Brussels Sprouts?

Apparently, a lot of you. I have a recipe that will change your mind.

Discover Magazine’s Discoblog is doing an ode to college professor/researcher/self-described “informal” numbers cruncher John W. Trinkaus this week. Until about 15 minutes ago, I’d never heard of the guy. But a few Google searches later, I turned up this 2004 profile from Fortune Magazine, which explains that Trinkaus has made a bit of career out of quantifying human behavior—counting a show of hands, so to speak—on all sorts of subjects: grocery checkout habits, stop sign compliance, waiting times at doctors offices. You get the picture.

Discoblog unearthed a 1991 Trinkaus report which looked at the preference for Brussels sprouts among business school students. A very specific sample set, yes, but I’m assuming it was the best one he had at his disposal at the time. Anyway, his research found that half of respondents found the veggie to be “very repulsive” or “somewhat repulsive,” 40 percent were indifferent, and about 10 percent (that’s rounding up!) actually liked them.

My question: What is wrong with you haters? Despite the fact that a single sprout contains 22 percent of your daily vitamin C needs and 37 percent of vitamin K, Brussels sprouts are delicious. I’m guessing they’ve gotten a bad rap for being the vegetable of choice moms everywhere force their kids to eat (“Now eat your Brussels sprouts, Junior”). Either that, or you’re just plain making them wrong. I’ll go with the latter.

Here’s what I do (hat tip to my husband’s cousin, Angie, for showing me this easy technique): Rough-chop a whole bunch of Brussels sprouts. You’ll want to remove the little stumps from the stalk if they have them and remove the outer layer of leaves if necessary. After chopping, heat up a skillet with just a splash or two of olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan with a thin layer). Then, when it’s hot, take a handful of slivered almonds and toss them in. Let them toast for a minute or two, then add your chopped sprouts. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and in a few minutes—voila! A delicious, nutty, filling side dish.

The hubby and I have grown to love these sprouts so much that we actually request them every Thanksgiving. So try them out—I’m betting I can move more than a few of you from the “repulsed” category into Brussels sprout bliss.