When I was a child, my mother served us piles of fruits and vegetables, especially vegetables. We ate salads almost every night and all different kinds of fruits and vegetables. I don't know if she had a master strategy but I still love salad and almost all vegetables. So being from the bay area, we also ate our fair share of brussels sprouts. I liked them but they were kind of an afterthought, usually served boiled or steamed with some butter on top. I never envisioned eating them any other way.
Fly forward to my twenties. I was living in Oakland and working at PGEC (which, if you are interested, is the plant gene expression center). We went to this great restaurant in San Francisco, a group of people including a woman that ended up being one of my prime inspirations in the kitchen. She is a fantastic cook, seemingly unphased by almost any challenge presented to her in the kitchen. Among other things she loved scrabble but wished there was a version that only allowed food terminology.
She thought we should order the brussels sprouts at this fancy restaurant despite all the amazing options on the menu. I remember feeling skeptical that this was a smart move but she was the food expert and we deferred to her. They came to the table, crispy and salty and covered with capers. They were delicious and it is my favorite way to eat my brussels sprouts.
Roasted Brussels Sprout with Capers
1 lb brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed (and halved if they are big)
2 - 3 T Olive Oil
3 - 4 T capers
Salt and Pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 425.
Place the brussels sprouts in a saucepan and cover with cold water and a little salt. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 2 - 5 minutes, depending on their size. They should be cooked through but still firm. Drain in a colander and shake to remove most of the water. If roasting immediately, pat the brussels sprouts dry with paper towels, otherwise leave them to dry out a bit, shaking the colander occasionally.
Toss the brussels sprouts with the Olive Oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Mix in the capers and spread on a baking sheet or roasting pan. Use a pan that is large enough so they have space around them, otherwise they will steam instead of roast.
Roast for 15 - 20 minutes, shaking once or twice, until they start to look brown and crispy. Remove from the oven, taste and add more salt, if needed.