My mom always used to cook or steam Brussels sprouts whole. I always hated them and still do now if they are prepared that way. They tend to get a very sharp, slightly bitter vegetable taste, similar to over-boiled fennel.
But on the other hand, then cut in halves or quarters they taste amazing. Especially fried in butter/olive oil, but also when boiled, with a hint of lemon juice I started to absolutely love them.
I was wondering why that is that they do not develop that distinctly disgusting flavour when they are cut?
I have some theories, but I would love to hear your thoughts on this:
- Maybe by the time the centre is cooked the outer part is already overcooked.
- The caramelisation that happens much more on the cut side makes them taste better. Perhaps the sweetness from that overtones the bitter flavour?
- Or is there actually some chemical compound in Brussels sprouts that can not evaporate when they're whole?