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Dinner guests usually arrive ravenously hungry and eager to eat. The perfect appetizer is one you can make ahead and pop into the oven for a quick warming. After watching dinner guests take a pass when Brussels sprouts come to the table, I'm aware they are not on everyone's list of favorite vegetables. But offer them as an appetizer with a pungent and sassy filling, and guests remark, "I never eat these!" as they reach for seconds.

Stuffed Brussels Sprouts

    20 fresh Brussels sprouts

    1 13.75-ounce (390 g) can water-packed artichoke hearts, drained and diced
    20 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
    10 jumbo pimento stuffed green olives, chopped
    1/2 cup (120 ml) almonds, chopped
    1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 shallot, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (Gas Mark 4) and have ready a large baking pan.
  2. Trim stems and cut Brussels sprouts in half. Using a grapefruit knife, scoop out the centers to create a cavity, and set the centers aside for another recipe. Toss the halves with olive oil and set them aside.
  3. To make the filling, combine the artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, green olives, almonds, olive oil, shallot, and garlic in a medium mixing bowl. Stir well to distribute the ingredients evenly.
  4. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of the stuffing into the cavity of each of the Brussels sprout halves and arrange them on the baking sheet.
  5. Roast the halves for about 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Makes about 8 to 10 servings.

Note: If the Brussels sprouts are large, fill a 6-quart (6 liter) saucepan 2/3 full with water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat and blanch the halves for about 4 or 5 minutes to tenderize them. To keep the water at a steady boil while blanching, add the Brussels sprouts in small batches of 6 or 7 halves at a time and remove them with a slotted spoon.

Click here for past cookingwithzel@home.comeonin recipes

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