A sidebar: The Santa Fe Trader Joe's has a significant number of shoppers wearing black clothing and black berets. It must be the artsy influence.
Okay, back to the story. In the produce area a large crowd was gathered around a table, exclaiming, "I've never seen that before! So that's how they look!" They were talking about Brussels sprouts still on their stalks, like natural, man.
When I got home I planned to cut them off the stalk and roast them like I usually do, tossing them in olive oil, salt and pepper, and leaving them in the oven at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. They are lovely like that.
But I saw something dangling from the end of the stalk and it was a recipe from Trader Joe. So I decided to give it a try.
First I rinsed the stalk of sprouts, wrapped the wet stalks in plastic wrap and microwaved them for about 3 minutes. I think that's to par cook them before roasting. Below is a photo of how I wrapped the stalk to preserve the heat and moisture from washing them.
Please excuse the old Silpat mat. I need to buy a new one.
In a small bowl I mixed 1/2 cup maple syrup (I used the real stuff) with 1/4 cup olive oil. I unwrapped the sprouts, discarded the plastic wrap and brushed the maple syrup/olive oil mixture over them. I sprinkled them with salt and pepper to taste.
I baked them at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. They came out nicely roasted, with some of the outer leaves crispy, which I like, with a slightly sweet taste.
Here's how they looked out of the oven: Look at how the syrup has caramelized a bit.
You can serve them like this and your diners can hack off what they want from the stalk, Henry the 8th style, or you can do the honors and serve in a dish.
I love roasting Brussels sprouts. They have a nutty, slightly sweet taste that is not at all like your Irish mother's sprouts which were boiled within an inch of their lives.