, , , , , , ,

Sprouts are a vegetable I usually dislike (even though I’m fine with cabbage and  broccoli). To my palate, they taste very bitter. It is part of family mythology how I once ridiculed my little brother for turning his nose up at a bowl of sprouts, loudly announcing “Look, I’ll eat one myself!” I popped one of the wee quinine bombs into my mouth, chewed, and was forced to spit it out again, in spite of the inevitable humiliation…

It’s possible that I am among the 35% of women who are “supertasters,” which merely means we have more taste buds and an increased sensitivity to bitterness. (About 15% of men are supertasters.) Indeed, I can barely eat radicchio, and dislike grapefruit. Some  soy milks taste bitter to me, and I detest Campari. On the other hand, rapini is by far my favorite vegetable, and I adore olives! Not to mention the occasional gin and tonic, in season.

I have only experienced non-bitter sprouts three times in my life.

(1) Tiny and marble sized (very difficult to find), sautéed in a pan.


Sprouts about the size of grapes are about right. Click for this cool, counterintuitive recipe from Poormansfeast.com.

(2) Broiled at Jean-Georges (they tasted a bit like a broiled steak).


Not only the best sprouts, but one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. Which is why you should eat at Jean-Georges even though it’s in the Trump hotel. Photo by Linnet.

(3) Pickled in a jar (yummy and not bitter in the least).


Paisley Farm Dilled Brussels Sprouts are famous as garnishes for a Bloody Mary or martini. I recommend them! Click for Paisley website.

We made our own pickled sprouts a couple of weeks ago, and broke open the first jar for a taste test.


White-wine vinegar, chili pepper, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and salt.


The verdict? Great flavor, but I should have parboiled or steamed these first, because they are still quite crunchy. Maybe an additional week or two of pickling will “cook” them down to a more tender bite.