It’s funny to think that you can go your entire childhood without really ever eating certain specific foods — like Brussels sprouts. My mother made all kinds of weird and delicious vegetables — she is the best cook I have ever met, to this day — but never these sumptuous little mini cabbages. Why? Maybe they don’t have them in China? If I ever have kids, I am going to cook so much random stuff of infinite variety so they can figure out what they like best.
For me, I figured out that Brussels sprouts is one of my best, especially when caramelized in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown and sizzling, finished with a pat of butter and dripping with lemon juice, tossed with whole wheat penne and parsley and chopped walnuts. This would have been perfect with shaved Pecorino, but I was out. This would have been great with roast pork, too, or lima beans, or salsa, or poached eggs. The best is when the outer leaves of the sprout fall off in the oven and get really crispy and charred, like mini potato chips. Fantastic.