Mrs Bailey’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts
This is another of those recipes so simple they’re really just a method, and honestly this one comes down to just a line.
Put a cast-iron skillet (for preference) or a heavy-based roasting pan in the hottest part of your oven, and preheat it to 400F. Leave it alone for half an hour even after it comes to temp, so that the skillet has time to get seriously hot. That’s all the secret that there is to this.
Meanwhile, trim and halve your brussels sprouts, put them in a bowl and toss them with salt, pepper and olive oil.
Once the oven and everything in it is really hot, take out the skillet — carefully! — and quickly add the sprouts. If you have a pair of tongs, turn as many as possible cut-side down, but don’t linger over it; you don’t want that pan to cool.
Put the sprouts into the oven, close the door and give them twenty-five minutes or so. That’s it, that’s the recipe. They’ll be crunchy where they met the iron, soft above. Perfect. (Yes, of course you can gild the lily if you like. Add a splash of balsamic, throw in some garlic and let it cook in the residual heat from the pan, or some bacon of course, or some chopped apple, or any combination thereof. Chestnuts are a classic. Go wild if you want to. Honestly, though, this is what I come back to, time and time again.)
You can find more of Mrs Bailey’s recipes here:
And the legends of the Crater School girls for whom she cooks may be encountered here: