Brussels sprouts


Brussels sprouts for people who hate Brussels sprouts

As every resident head knows, the most comforting comfort food contains goodly amounts of fat, sugar, or both.

Carrie Golus, AB’91, AM’93

When I asked Laura Staley, AB’04, for a list of favorites at Burton-Judson’s Vincent House—Staley and husband Avi Schwab, AB’03, served as resident heads there from 2007 to 2011—everything on the list sounded really, really good and really, really bad: sweet potato latkes, caramel matzoh crunch, Mexican potato salad, pineapple upside-down cake, perfect oatmeal cookies, king cake.

And yet one of the favorites, a gratin that Staley and Schwab regularly served to 25 students and hangers-on for Thanksgiving dinner, calls for the kryptonite of cooking: Brussels sprouts. “I still have students e-mailing me for this recipe each year,” says Staley. “It will turn even the most Brussels-sprout–hating individual into a lover.”

The secret, of course, is a heart-stopping amount of dairy: two and a half cups of heavy whipping cream and three cups of Parmesan. The original recipe called for pine nuts, which Staley omitted due to budgetary constraints; she doubled the breadcrumbs “to compensate and to have a nice crunchy topping.”


1 1/2 lb Brussels sprouts, quartered lengthwise through core
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup breadcrumbs
3 cups Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped


Preheat oven to 375°F. Boil Brussels sprouts in salted water for 2 minutes. Add cauliflower; cook together for 3 minutes longer. Rinse with cold water and drain well.

Combine cream, shallots, and sage in saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer until mixture is reduced to 2 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes.

Put half of the vegetables in a buttered 13"x9"x2" baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Add the remaining vegetables and top with remaining cheese. Pour on cream mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook bread crumbs until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in parsley. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top and bake uncovered for 15 minutes longer.

Prep time:
20 minutes

Cooking time:
55 minutes


Calories per serving:
Don’t ask, except for seconds


Adapted from Bon Appetit.

(Photography by Tom Tian, AB’10)