I love Brussels sprouts. I am not sure why one day, 20 years ago I decided to give them another try. But I am glad that I did! Research has shown that I was actually born to love Brussels sprouts. A 2011 Cornwall College study revealed, that people are born with a Brussels sprouts affinity and it is all in their genes. Lead Botanist from the Eden Project at Cornwall College discovered that people with a mutated version of the gene are immune to the bitter taste in Brussels sprouts. Apparently 50% of the population has this lucky mutant gene. And, the rest find the bitter chemical PTC (Phenylthiocarbamide) which is found in Brussels sprouts, not palatable. So for my fellow PTC-posse who were born like me, I am sharing my 5 favorite Brussels sprout dishes in the West Loop, Chicago.
Mad Social: Crispy Brussel Sprouts – red cabbage, carrots, cilantro, toasted garlic chips, scallions, wonton strips, sesame seeds, yuzu soy vinaigrette / This is my favorite. It is super filling and I love the addition of the wonton strips. It is crunchy and a perfect as a meal or a table share.
Formentos : Kale salad Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Golden Raisins, Pecorino, Toasted Almonds & Citrus Vinaigrette / This is a combo dish, with kale as the more dominant flavor. But I like having the sprouts shavings mixed in with the raisins.
Bar Siena : PIZZA-Sausage & Brussels Sprout 19 braised onion, pecorino with braised onion, pecorino / There are two dishes here that I recommend. The sausage and sprout pizza has amazing flavor. I have surprised many of my male friends with this specialty pizza. Surprisingly, they have loved it – and I am guessing even a few men that probably don’t have this magical mutant gene.
Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts with pancetta and sea salt / This second dish is a very basic side dish. Instead of bacon they use pancetta and salt. I appreciate that there are not too many flavors going on.
Parlor Pizza : Brussels sprouts pan seared with dry-cured pancetta, fresh squeezed lemon and parmesan. / I was surprised that the menu at Parlour had such great Brussels sprouts. The lemon and parm seasoning offers a great flavor. As much as I love this dish, I think I would prefer it without the pancetta. But I am not a person that feels bacon, pancetta and prosciutto needs to be added to make every dish better.
Pop up Nosh and Booze : Brussels Sprouts Salad – crispy sprouts, red cabbage, carrots, Fresno peppers, scallions, bacon, crunchy shallots, bacon vinaigrette dressing / This salad is hardy! It is perfect for the meat eater- that strives to add more vegetables in their diet.