Skip to content

Charred Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts are a controversial vegetable. Not just the taste either, the name confuses the hell out of people. So let’s clear something up. It isn’t “brussel sprouts”. It isn’t “brussel’s sprouts”. They are “brussels sprouts”. They are named after the city of Brussels. At least that is what I read on the internets. The main objection people have to the taste is the bitterness. I personally don’t taste too much bitterness in them, but I’m not a supertaster either. Supertasters are particularly sensitive to bitter tastes, so sucks to be them, because brussels sprouts can be awesome.

Please ignore the leg of duck with port-wine-balsamic glaze, it doesn’t concern you

Brussels sprouts were first domesticated in Belgium around 500 years ago, and are descended from the family of wild cabbages found and eaten for thousands of years all around the Mediterranean.  They are close relatives of modern cabbage. Which probably explains why so many people hate one if they hate the other.

These haunt the dreams of many a child


My favorite way to make them is to char the hell out of them in a cast iron pan. It is unique, creates all sorts of strange and yummy tastes, looks exotic, is easy, fast, and will change the way you think of brussels sprouts. They don’t have to be boiled mush and smell like stinky socks.

Start with a very hot, but totally dry pan. Not a drop of oil.

Scorch their pretty little faces!

Once the sprouts are charred, add shallot that has been tossed with oil

Then add wine, broth, oyster sauce and herbs

Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm! Char!

Charred Brussels Sprouts

From my brain, inspired by Lois Blanford’s recipe

  1. 1 lb brussels sprouts
  2. 1 medium shallot, minced
  3. 1 Tbsp olive oil
  4. 1 cup chicken broth
  5. 1/2 cup white wine
  6. 3 Tbsp oyster sauce
  7. 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  8. 2 Tbsp butter
  9. salt and pepper to taste

Clean and halve all the sprouts. Heat a cast iron pan (a good stainless pan works too) until it is super hot. If it is cast iron, it will be smoking, and if stainless, a tiny drop of oil will immediately smoke vigorously. Arrange all the sprouts cut side down in the pan. There will be smoke. After a 1-3 minutes, depending on your tolerance for smoke and charcoal, they should be ready for the next step. Turn the heat to low, mix the olive oil with the shallot, then add to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, occasionally mixing and stirring. When the shallots are translucent, and just starting to brown, add a mixture made up of all the remaining ingredients, except the butter.  Turn the heat back to high. You are essentially steaming the sprouts, while simultaneously reducing the sauce. Remove from heat and stir in the butter once the  sauce is reduced to about 3-5 Tbsp, or the sprouts are just tender whichever comes first. It is more important not to overcook your sprouts than to fully reduce your sauce. Give them a quick toss to coat with sauce and serve.

This recipe made by and for tens.


  1. soleil wrote:

    Please cook brussels sprouts for me

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 10:12 am | Permalink
  2. lauren wrote:

    The BrusselS sprouts were truly amazing.

    Monday, May 9, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Permalink
  3. cedar wrote:

    Thank you Lauren, I’m glad you liked them.

    Monday, May 16, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Permalink
  4. Stan wrote:

    I do a similar preparation, adding a bit of pancetta (diced), sometimes rosemary, and without the white wine or oyster sauce.

    I’m looking forward to trying this though, looks great!

    Monday, July 18, 2011 at 11:24 am | Permalink
  5. Tray wrote:

    You are hilarious. Also, these look amazing I am making them.

    Monday, January 7, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink
  6. cedar wrote:

    Thanks, Tray!

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink
  7. Tracy wrote:

    This looks amazing. Every expensive restaurant we go to lately serves brussel sprouts. Do you think the oyster sauce make much difference? Any I agree with Tray. You are hilarious.

    Tracy F

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink
  8. Anonymous wrote:

    These were absolutely amazing. LOVE LOVE LOVED them and so did my 9 year old. 🙂

    Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink
  9. zootalaws wrote:

    We love us some brussels. They are really hard to find here, so when we do get some, I buy a lot!

    Came across a nice recipe the other day for brussels that are past their best – and it uses your home-cured bacon, as well!

    cut bacon into small cubes – fry to almost crunchy stage
    throw in some fine-chopped onion with the bacon and (most important!) the bacon drippings
    fine-slice brussels and when the onions are getting a nice brown colour, throw them in with a dash of wine and a touch of thyme.
    Stir-fry to your desired stage of crunchiness.

    We had them with roast chicken and potatoes and they were great!

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:18 am | Permalink

Leave a Reply