Marcus Samuelsson On Why Brussels Sprouts Are A Must-Have On The Thanksgiving Table - Exclusive

Many people — celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson included — believe the sides are the star of the show on Thanksgiving, and Brussels sprouts just happen to be one of his favorites. Brussels sprouts offer a pop of green on the table to break up all the brown fare. Plus, what is better than a crispy pop of freshness in between forkfuls of carbs and tryptophan sleepiness-inducing bites?

Marcus Samuelsson may have a world view on cuisine, but he is also a master of basic dishes while giving them his own spin. In an exclusive interview with Tasting Table, he told us why he is such a fan of Brussels sprouts and gave tips to home chefs on how to prepare them. If you have been a victim of soggy, boiled sprouts with no taste or burnt sprouts that are bitter — read on to make your Brussels sprouts the main attraction this Thanksgiving.

More than a side piece

Marcus Samuelsson told us all about his multicultural Thanksgiving celebrations and how fantastic it is to sample dishes from around the world at one communal table. While he is known to bring a Swedish delicacy from time to time, and his wife brings classic Ethiopian dishes, he also brings along Brussels sprouts.

"My wife brings her Ethiopian sides, so doro wat and injera are always there. I love Brussels, already thinking about crispy Brussels," he said. He also filled us in on his partnership with Ritz and how he's incorporating it into his recipe. "We're throwing in some cranberries for sweetness. The Brussels recipes that I did for the Ritz Crackers book with that crumble of Ritz Crackers on top — it's super delicious, approachable, and everybody can make it."

After many home attempts with Brussels sprouts in the air fryer, on the stove-top, parboiled, and steamed — to varying degrees of success — it may seem daunting to try and achieve those perfect crispy sprouts you might find at a restaurant. Samuelsson offers words of encouragement. "You can do it. I know you can. Start at medium heat on low and then cook them up, and then you caramelize them at the right time. Don't start on high heat. That's when they burn and they don't get crispy," he said.

When asked if parboiling first is the key, he candidly discouraged it, saying, "No, don't do it. The roasting in the pan or roasting in the oven will give you everything you need. [With parboiling,] you're going to lose a lot of flavor. They look good, but that deep umami flavor that you're going for, it's not going to be there."

America's holiday celebrations and cuisines are as diverse as the people who call this country home, yet often multicultural celebrations are overlooked and underrepresented during the holiday season. To celebrate the culturally diverse food and flavors that bring people together, Marcus Samuelsson has partnered with Ritz on a limited-edition cookbook with delicious new recipes and a limited-edition Goldbelly kit featuring a dish from his cookbook. The partnership also includes a Friendsgiving event at his new and already acclaimed restaurant opening Hav & Mar in NYC.