Seriously Simple

High-heat roasting gives unique flavor to a colorful side dish

December 4, 2012 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Winter Squash.

YVONNE DUIVENVOORDEN

  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Winter Squash From “Seriously Simple Parties” (Chronicle Books, 2012) 2 pounds medium brussels sprouts, cleaned and ends removed; if large, cut in half 2 pounds peeled winter squash, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces 3 leeks, white and light green part only, cleaned and thinly sliced 2 teaspoons salt Freshly ground black pepper 3 tablespoons olive oil Advance preparation: Can be prepared through step 1 and put on baking sheet up to 4 hours before roasting. Cover lightly with foil. COMBINE all of the ingredients on a shallow roasting pan (a 12-inch by 17-inch jelly roll pan works well). PREHEAT the oven to 400 degrees. ROAST for 20 minutes. Move the vegetables around so they will evenly cook. Roast another 15 to 20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through and lightly browned. Taste for seasoning. TRANSFER to a serving bowl and serve immediately. Yield: Serves 6 to 8.

Who doesn’t like brussels sprouts? Actually, most people I know. But once they experience my take on these baby cabbages, many naysayers become happy converts. I think I know the reason why.

Something happens to brussels sprouts when they undergo high-heat roasting. They turn from watery, blah-tasting greens into little gems, caramelized on the outside and just cooked through on the inside. Really, all that is necessary is a light coating of olive oil and a good-quality seasoning salt to bring all the flavors together.

I also love what happens to winter squash when roasted. The inherent sweet flavor comes forth and a slightly crisp, browned exterior creates great color and texture. Of all the winter squashes, butternut squash works best in this combination with brussels sprouts.

At a recent signing for my latest book, “Seriously Simple Parties,” Roasted Butternut Squash With Brussels Sprouts was served and was a big hit. When you are looking for color and texture to perk up your table, this is an excellent choice. If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, you can use them to make a jewel of a vegetable salad with a glistening of your favorite vinaigrette. For an extra punch of flavor, add some crumbled, crispy bacon bits just before serving – but make sure there are no vegetarians in the group.

This is a great alternative side dish in the cooler months. The firm, slightly brown brussels sprouts mingle nicely with the creamy, bright orange squash pieces. To gild the lily, you could add some pomegranate seeds for a garnish. Serve the dish in a white bowl to show off the vivid vegetable colors. If you are making this for a crowd, you can double it – but make sure to use two pans.

Diane Rossen Worthington is the author of 20 cookbooks and a James Beard award-winning radio show host. Contact her at seriouslysimple.com

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