Ina Garten Shudders At The Thought Of Boiling Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are a contentious vegetable: The tiny green cabbages of the mustard family that hail from Brussels, Belgium that were first recorded in writing in 1587 either attract ardent fans of the edible buds or repel those that gag at the thought of eating them.

What makes or breaks the taste of Brussels sprouts lies in how you prepare them, since they do actually have a slightly bitter taste thanks to glucosinolate compounds, which are there to ward off insects, slugs, and even herbivores like pigeons from eating the plant. Another off-putting factor may be the particular volatile compounds of Brussels sprouts, which give off a very distinctive and pungent odor. 

But Brussels sprouts fans will know that simply by roasting 'em, glazing them with honey and balsamic, or baking them with bacon can render them delicious. Yet some ways are superior to others, and chef Ina Garten shudders at one particular way of Brussels sprouts preparation.

Ina Garten prefers to sauté her Brussels sprouts

In a video from "Barefoot Contessa" shared by the Food Network, Garten enthusiastically proclaims her love of Brussels sprouts — with one exception: If they are boiled, that automatically spoils her enthusiasm for the tiny buds. You can even see her visibly shudder, but then she goes on to cheerfully shred and sauté Brussels sprouts in butter and olive oil with black pepper and balsamic vinegar. Garten states that she loves when "they get a little caramelized and brown," which just isn't possible with boiling.

If you don't want to sauté your sprouts, you can never go wrong with roasting them to achieve a delectable crispy effect. There is perhaps one exception to the no-boil rule for Brussels sprouts, however: Parboiling Brussels sprouts in salted water is a fast way to achieve maximum crispness via a grill, oven, or pan. 

When in doubt, and if you're following Garten's recipe for roasted sprouts, you can always add a little more olive oil or butter for additional flavor.