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Have Brussels sprouts jumped the shark?

sproutsSometimes, when I put together one of these “have we had enough of this food trend” posts, it is because I’m personally starting to get sick of seeing a certain ingredient or technique popping up everywhere, and I’m just venting. Sometimes it is because I see the writing on the wall. But not this time.

I love Brussels sprouts, something that 9-year old me would probably slap me in the face for admitting. So, once Brussels sprouts began….ahem….sprouting up on seemingly every menu in town, I was all about it. But, this past weekend we had some friends in from San Francisco who informed me, while digging in to the Brussels sprouts side dish I’d just prepared, that sprouts are on their way out.

“Oh, Brussels sprouts have totally jumped the shark.” she said, “Fresh peas are the new hot vegetable. Don’t worry; in a year or two, Atlanta will catch up.”

I was less offended by the fact that I was just told that the dish I’d just prepared was basically old news, and I didn’t even mind the fact that she had taken a jab at Atlanta for being behind the times compared to San Fran. What did bother me was the nagging thought – “What if she is right??”

Now, I expect those of you that don’t like Brussels sprouts – which, lets face it, is a veggie that most people either love or hate- then I’m sure this would be welcome news for you. But what about the rest of you? Have Brussels sprouts overstayed their welcome?

Also, for those of you that are still on the sprout-loving train, the dish we were enjoying when my friend broke this terrible news to me was my first attempt at recreating the wonderful Brussels sprouts side dish that I recently reviewed from Paper Plane in Decatur. This was my first go at it, and I think that it needs a little more work to actually duplicate Paper Plane’s version, but this was still a crowd pleaser and was quick and easy to throw together in a pinch.


Brussels sprouts with bacon and blueberries (Interpreted from Paper Plane)

Serves: 8


2-3lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1lbs slab bacon, cut into thick chunks

1 pint fresh, ripe blueberries

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Start by sautéing the bacon chunks over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan until browning slightly and most of the fat has rendered, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove roughly half of the bacon chunks onto a paper towel to drain, and use these to snack on while you cook.

You will likely need to do this in 2 batches. Add half of the Brussels sprouts to the pan, sliced side down, until the sprouts are browned and crispy. Once the sprouts are sufficiently browned and cooked through, add half of the blueberries and toss well, coating in the bacon fact, and cook until the blueberries are warmed through.

Repeat the process with the second half of the sprouts and blueberries, and serve immediately.

29 comments Add your comment


July 9th, 2013
2:17 pm

Sounds good. Too bad you have snobby friends in San Fran. Wouldn’t have anything to do with them. Oh, so passé.

News to Me

July 9th, 2013
2:30 pm

I like fresh peas.


July 9th, 2013
2:33 pm

What’s definitely passé are brussel sprout recipes that involves bacon. Can someone please post something on the internet about brussel sprouts that isn’t just a conduit for more bacon?


July 9th, 2013
2:51 pm

Brussel sprouts are awesome and, although the prevalence on “hip” menus may wane, will always be served in my home and many others due to their versatility and great flavor.

Your friends from San Fran are definitely not cool, however.


July 9th, 2013
3:00 pm

Brussel sprouts and blueberries in the same dish? Gross.


July 9th, 2013
3:04 pm

Fresh peas? Enjoy that 3-week season.

(the other) Rodney

July 9th, 2013
3:18 pm

I’ll echo those who’ve posted above me – you were nicer to your friend than I would have been and I’m sort of disappointed in you, JW. Regardless of Atlanta’s failings, food or otherwise, that low blow would not have gone unanswered at my dinner table.

Besides, fresh peas ain’t nothing special in the South – we grow ‘em every year. :-) Matter of fact, my Mom and Grandma just spent the past few days shellin and snappin.

Let me guess, she-of-the-San-Fran was some scarf-in-the-summer wearing hipster, right? Talk about shark-jumping …

But – to topic – I LOVE the sprout. Halved, and buttered and salted, I’m happy with them.


July 9th, 2013
3:20 pm

@tom, try roasting them in a foil package with olive oil and garlic! I do it in the oven as well as on the grill!


July 9th, 2013
3:34 pm

I’ve been enjoying Brussels sprouts on a regular basis since I was a kid in the ’70s, and my mom cooked them wonderfully al dente. I noticed they were becoming popular in recent years, especially “roasted” to carmelize, but I have been eating neither more of them nor less of them. Screw food trends.

It’s funny that you mentioned English peas. Just bought some at DeKalb Farmer’s Market. I had no idea we were so trendy.

But really, how can a common vegetable be trendy? They’re all good. Eat with variety. Screw food trends.

Bob from Accountemps

July 9th, 2013
3:48 pm

Flip actually does a nice, simple job with them. I eat them any way I can and whether they’re in or out. Just returned from San Fran — I saw no announcements in the local media that sprouts were out and peas were in. And I saw neither on the menus where I ate (including in Napa). Although I did see incredible repetition of offerings at the self-styled “California cuisine” eateries.

Alison Jane

July 9th, 2013
4:01 pm

Sounds to me like that friendship has jumped the shark. I can’t think of anything less courteous than dissing a fresh home-made dish cooked just for you, whatever it is.


July 9th, 2013
4:18 pm

They will never jump the shark with me, unless they have been cooked to mush. But hold the bacon.


July 9th, 2013
4:25 pm

1.Tell “friend” to go $%^%$%^ herself
2.Roast BS with olive oil and dash of favorite herbs top with grated parmesean.
3.tom- you either like bacon or you are wrong.


July 9th, 2013
4:28 pm

I like them steamed and then with salt, pepper, garlic and lemon zest!

Doc Hollidawg

July 9th, 2013
4:52 pm

Roasted with olive oil and salt here….or shaved and sauteed in butter.

Next your San Fran friend will say grits are the new thing.


July 9th, 2013
5:02 pm

Well, I am glad they are back and will remain in the rotation, those sprouts. . .And bless your friend’s heart, in Atlanta we consider it more offensive to be rude to one’s host than to serve a passe side dish. “I declare, this is the BEST congealed fruit and mayonnaise salad I have had in years!” If anything has jumped the shark in the ATL, it is tiny weird cuts of cured pork, “ale-roasted hog jowl rinds with melon remoulade” and the like…My husband calls them UFOs…San Francisco probably hasn’t gotten to them yet.


July 9th, 2013
8:56 pm

You need new friends. Those brussels sprouts sound good, I’ll come over with some brewskies.


July 9th, 2013
9:28 pm

People who live in San Francisco nowadays (mostly not from SF) are insufferable. Yes, they have Chez Panisse, etc, etc. All would be nothing if not for the traditions of Southern cuisine, the only original American cuisine.


July 10th, 2013
9:06 am

The best ones are at 4th and Swift in fall/winter – with cider reduction, creme fraiche. they are crispy and amazing


July 10th, 2013
9:55 am

Sorry to hear that you enjoy hanging out with people that analyze the trendiness of what you cook. Our friends aren’t that picky.

Roasted brussel sprouts are great, but I agree with others: the trend of making everything just a conduit for more bacon/pork fat is getting kind of old. Just some oil, kosher salt, pepper, work for us.


July 10th, 2013
9:57 am

Why does someone base what food they eat on what is/isn’t popular? THAT trend should be passé. I happen to love brussels sprouts when they are prepared to my liking. I recently had some on a catered buffet (yeah, really) that were some of the best I’ve ever tasted, coming in a close second to the heavenly sprouts I’ve had a H&F which were caramelized with shallots in duck fat.


July 10th, 2013
10:23 am

I thought Kale had taken the place of brussel sprouts as the next “it” vegetable. Seems like every menu now inserts Kale in all sorts of places, eliminating many dishes for the non Kale eater. Yes, I know its good for you, but regardless of the preparation, the bitterness seems to always come through. Bring on the peas!


July 10th, 2013
10:36 am

As long as they aren’t frozen or canned, I will eat them where I stand. With bacon, garlic, grilled or sauteed, I will eat them any day. If you don’t like them, just say you’ll pass, but criticize me for liking them and you can bite my–

Shallow Howl

July 10th, 2013
1:22 pm

Love the brussell sprouts at barcelona on highland in inman park.
The way they dry them out and serve you the little leaves instead of the sprout and charge you as though you got a real portion. Now that’s the real deal. Love that place.
And the beets with the little grooves where they were squeezed out of a can and sliced – just for me.
This place knows how to make make culinary magic and should definitely be around at least through this year’s holiday season.
IDK who the chef is but he/she should be congratulated and given the nextyear off.

Cancer fighter

July 10th, 2013
4:11 pm

Cruciferous vegetables fight/prevent cancer. They NEVER go out of style. You should be eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, preferably raw, preferably organic and should never take anything off the list unless you are allergic or just can’t stand the taste (and should even keep trying them as you get older – you never know). God/mother nature/whatever put them here for us to eat to stay healthy. Don’t follow trends – follow good health.


July 11th, 2013
8:53 am

Brussels sprouts, havled and lightly browned over pretty high heat in a little oil. Remove from pan and add shallots and butter for about 2 mins, throw sprouts back in, add about half a cup or so of chicken stock, cover and cook until tender, most of liquid is evaporated. You’re welcome.


July 15th, 2013
1:57 am

I think anybody worrying about which vegetable is “trendy” is sort of boring in my book. Eat everything, who cares? I like my Brussels sprouts quartered and tossed with oil, salt, and pepper. Broil them close to the heating element until carmalized, take the pan out and sprinkle ‘em with apple cider vinegar. Peas in Georgia? They’re everywhere.


July 15th, 2013
3:07 pm

Me and the GF have been digging the sprouts for a while now. It started with a Thanksgiving brussel sprouts with bacon and sriracha recipe and lately we’ve been making them with a fish sauce centered marinade after having something similar at The Spence.