Brined Brussels Sprouts

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I think we can all agree brussels sprouts aren't the most exciting vegetable. Brining them takes their natural sweetness over the top, turning them into tiny morsels of cabbagey goodness. Still not sold? Make this once and then thank me. A note about the brine — don't get cute trying to add lots of flavor to it. There's no fat to absorb any complex flavors, so if you're wanting to jazz it up, add flavorings when you go to roast it, not the brine. Yields 2 to 3 servings per pound.

  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound brussels sprouts
  • 2½ cups ice cold water (there should be no ice in it)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 big stalk rosemary
  1. In a saucepan, bring the salt, sugar and 1 cup water to a boil. Swirl to dissolve the solids and remove from heat. Let cool slightly while you prep the brussels sprouts.
  2. Leave the tiny sprouts whole but cut everything else into halves.
  3. Pour the ice water into the hot brine, then add the brussels sprouts. Brine for up to 4 hours. I found 4 hours to be a little salty, but your mileage may vary depending on your tastes and the size of your sprouts; 3 hours is a good starting point.
  4. About a half hour before you're ready to cook them, preheat an oven to 500°F.
  5. Drain the sprouts and shake off as much brine as you can; do not rinse them. Turn out onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and strip the rosemary stalk right over the pan.
  6. Toss everything together and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the sprouts are deeply browned and crispy. Serve immediately.