These cabbage-like veggies thrive in farms outside Chicago, and now is the time to buy them. “Brussels sprouts taste best when they have been kissed by frost,” explains Patrick Sheerin,
chef at Wicker Park hot spot Trenchermen (2039 W. North Ave., 773-661-1540).

Don’t let childhood memories of sulfurous cooking odors deter you: In the past 20 years, cross-pollination has yielded greater sweetness. Even kids will go for Sheerin’s recipe, an adaptation of his grandmother’s.

Patrick Sheerin’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 30 to 45 minutes

Brussels Sprouts

2 lb. Brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved
4 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil

Fermented Bean Sauce

2 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tbsp. Nonfat powdered milk
2 Tbsp. Canned fermented black beans, chopped
2 Tbsp. Pumpkin seeds, chopped
1 segment Preserved lemon, rinsed and diced (available at Whole Foods and some specialty stores)
1 Green onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. Chopped dill (optional)

1. In a bowl, toss the sprouts with olive oil and salt, and let sit for 10 minutes.

2. Heat a fry pan (or griddle) to high.

3. Place the sprouts, cut side down, on the hot pan. Drizzle any oil that remains in the bowl over the sprouts.

4. Lower the temperature and sauté sprouts to a dark golden brown (about 5 to 7 minutes).

5. Flip the sprouts over, tent the whole pan with foil, and cook 3 more minutes.

6. Transfer sprouts to a serving platter.

7. In a saucepan, combine the butter and powdered milk and cook until just golden brown.

8. Add the black beans and pumpkin seeds and cook 2 more minutes to toast.

9. Remove from heat. Add the preserved lemon and fold in the green onion. Spoon over the sprouts.

10. Garnish with dill if desired.

TIPS: If you don’t have preserved lemon on hand, you can substitute the zest of a lemon. For variety, garnish with fresh cilantro or basil.