You start with the salty smell of a good olive oil, where you actually taste olives, not oil. Take a large flat plate and get a good solid layer of oil over it, sprinkling lightly with your favorite sea salt. You’ve washed the small buds of Brussels sprouts, making sure all the dirt has been removed from their leaves. Carefully and with kindness, trim the roots and cut the sprouts lengthwise, exposing their off-white centers. Place them face-down in the olive oil pool, allowing them to soak up and absorb the oil into their centers.
Bring a large skillet to your stove, warming a tablespoon or so of (more) olive oil on low-medium heat. Transfer the Brussels sprouts from the plate to the skillet – still face down and be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cover. The sprouts will take five to ten minutes to cook. You’ll know by their bright green color when it’s time for their final step. Uncover and bump up the heat to medium-high. With a couple of flicks of your wrist, toss the buds in the pan, trying to get them to face up. Their movement will be your signal that they are ready – slight popping up as the heat steams the centers. Like popcorn but elegant and subdued. The purists of olive oil will judge you for oxidizing the oil but you need the heat for the crunch. The caramelization of the centers will show a golden face and release a sweet aroma. Depending on your mood, several additions are suggested: toasted almonds for more crunch, a good smelly cheese to accentuate the savoriness, cubes of velvety avocado to compliment the crispy buds, or a drizzle of potent honey because you can never have enough sweetness. Enjoy right off the pan, you’ll lose the crispness when reheated.