Let me count the sprouts

Brussels sprouts are one of those vegetables that have been unfairly shunned. Too many of us fear their resemblance to cabbage and avoid them altogether.

But look again at the beautiful spiraling sprouts on their tall stalks. There have been lots of them on the stem at farmers’ markets lately, and they’re striking. Cooked with some bacon or pancetta and a little brown butter, they’re melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

You can even separate the leaves for a salad, as Michael Tuohy does at Grange (926 J Street). He’s had a Brussels sprouts salad on the menu recently with candied cranberries, toasted walnuts and brown butter vinaigrette. I loved the way the tart cranberries popped in my mouth and the walnuts brought out the nuttiness of the tender sprout leaves.

They’re also quite beautiful as a centerpiece. Simply stand a stalk in a glass vase with a bit of water to keep it fresh. The green sprouts look like little Christmas balls on a tree. It’s an edible ornament for the holidays!