Photograph by Martyn Thompson Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero 
Prop Styling by Ayesha Patel

Burnt: Smell

Scorched Brussels Sprouts with Smoky Cheese

Starters from Issue 12 - Winter 2018 – The Senses

The biggest factor in how we perceive a food’s flavor isn’t its taste, but its smell. Known as retronasal olfaction, it’s the odors released at the back of the mouth when we’re eating that help us register the nuances of a dish, more than what’s actually on our tongue. And just as perfumery has its divisive scents (see patchouli), so too does food, like Brussels sprouts, which are known to leave a pungent sulfuric trail in their wake. But enduring any kitchen odor is worth it for this result: dark and caramelized with a scorch whose appeal is furthered by shavings of smoky cheese.

serves 6

  • 2 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Fiore Sardo or Idiazabal cheese for serving

  • 1

    Preheat oven to 375°F.

  • 2

    Scatter Brussels sprouts on a heavy sheet pan. If any are large, peel off some of the outer leaves and add them to the pan as well. Drizzle with oil and season generously with salt and pepper, shaking pan to coat evenly.

  • 3

    Roast, shaking pan several times throughout cooking, until outer leaves are very dark and caramelized and centers are tender, 50-60 minutes.

  • 4

    Serve sprouts topped with thin shavings of cheese.