Brussels sprouts

Photo: Thinkstock

5 of 9
Brussels Sprouts
A holiday staple for many, these mini cabbages are bitter and very "vegetal" tasting, in the words of Page and Dornenburg. They also turn gray and stinky, taking on a sulfurous odor, if you overcook them. For this much-maligned vegetable, we asked James Peterson, who went from studying chemistry at Berkeley to teaching home cooks the finer points of flavor, which ingredient is most likely to convert skeptics. Bacon, says Peterson, the author of Kitchen Simple: Essential Recipes for Everyday Cooking, without missing a beat. The crisp, smoky, salty meat is the perfect complement to Brussels sprouts' inherent (really!) sweetness. To combat texture issues, try slicing them thinly (julienne style) and sautéing them in olive oil with garlic so they soften without getting mushy.

Get the recipe: Brussels Sprouts with Turkey Bacon