Joco Diversions

Eating for life — Sauce recipe may win you over on brussels sprouts

Some folks enjoy nibbling on a naked carrot.

No can do? Then go ahead and pass the ranch dip.

Chances are you also consider celery inedible without a swipe of peanut butter and steamed broccoli offensive unless it’s swimming in a rich cheese sauce. But nutrition experts say if that’s the only way to get Americans to eat more veggies, that’s OK.

It’s no secret that brussels sprouts are at the top of the most-hated vegetables list. Yet with the right sauce you might just change your mind. Cloaked in a mustard-flavored vinaigrette and garnished with shavings of Parmesan, The Star’s Italian-Style Brussels Sprouts are an appetizing way to enjoy these Thumbelina-sized cabbages.

Quick-cooking is the key to avoiding that bitter, cabbagey taste that results from the breakdown of sulfur compounds. Gently steaming brussels sprouts yields a vegetable with a pleasing texture and slightly nutty flavor.

The season for fresh brussels sprouts runs August through March. Brussels sprouts, a member of the cancer-fighting cruciferous family, are very high in vitamin C, contain a good amount of folate and a fair amount of iron.

And here’s another surprise: A 1/2 -cup serving of brussels sprouts contains as much fiber as two slices of whole-grain bread.

Shopping tip:

At some stores you can find brussels sprouts still attached to the stalk; other stores sell them loose. Choose bright green compact heads that are heavy for their size and free of any soft spots or yellowing leaves. The root ends should look freshly cut without signs of browning.

Storage tip:

It’s best to use brussels sprouts within three days of purchase to avoid off flavors. Store loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the produce bin of the refrigerator.