That donkey has good taste
I was at the Farmers' Market last week and I bought a stalk of brussels sprouts. It still had the top leaves (which look like a cross between cabbage and a HUGE brussels sprout).
For anyone who hasn't seen a brussels sprout stalk, this website link has a good picture (though mine was a much smaller variety).
I asked if the top leaves were edible too (they seemed a bit thick and perhaps tough).
The vendor said she wasn't sure, because they never ate them (but joked that their donkey absolutely loved them). She suggested I check online.
Which I did, and discovered they are edible and even found suggestions for using them (essentially using them like Kale).
So, I decided to roast the top leaves along with the brussels sprouts, and I discovered that I like the brussels sprout tops even better than the sprouts (which isn't a hard sell to me, because even though I've learned to like brussels sprouts they're not my absolute favorite, except roasted with a little more oil than I usually use for roasted veggies to get the edges really crisp).
WOW, the big leaves are better than kale chips, because they get crunchy edges, but hold their shape better (they don't just disintegrate into crumbs like kale tends to do).
The only problem I forsee is that they're so good, I want them all year round, but it's definitely a seasonal item with very limited availability. It's also a "trash" part that most vendors discard or use themselves (if only to feed their livestock).
I was really impressed though, and don't know why these aren't sold for human consumption more widely. You can buy turnip greens, why not brussels sprout tops (you probably can wherever brussels sprouts are more appreciated).
Anyway, I washed and dried the leaves, put them in a gallon sized ziploc bag tossed them with a couple tablespoons of oil and shook the bag to coat all the leaves (the bag was so full it took more than a tablespoon, which I use for most veggies). Then I threw in a couple tablespoons of ranch dressing mix powder (like the Hidden Valley Ranch packets, but I buy in bulk. One packet should be sufficient if you're using packets.
Then I roasted them at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes (until the leaves were crispy, but the stems were tender - very yummy).
That sounds good... but I have to admit brussel sprouts have been one of those vegetables that I always wished that I liked better... and when I do like them it's usually because they've been prepared with a lot of butter or bacon fat or something along those lines....
As far as the tops goes... I'm going to have to keep an eye out for them here at the farmers markets... I never tried any other tops of veggies, except for beets which I love...
Thanks for the interesting ideas....
Cool! Thanks for the tip. I want to experiment with this when I have more time to cook.
Great tip kaplods. I love brussel sprouts. I purchased a stalk of them last weekend and still have plenty left. Mine were sans leaves though. When I go to the market next I will ask about the top leaves if they even have any left, as you said they are seasonal. Soon all I will be getting is what stores well, cabbage, cabbage and cabbage. lol
The leaf parts were mostly crispy, and the stem part was chewy and surprisingly sweet (though a lot of things are tasting sweeter to me as I eat fewer carbs and dilute my Crystal Light more).
I just loved the contrast in texture.
We do have a winter farmers markets, and some of the vendors sell broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage with the tough outer leaves still attached. I'm wondering if they would roast up similarly.
The chewy crisp texture is just so unusual in something good for you.
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