When chefs Dani Garcia and Santiago Guerrero strolled through the Union Square Greenmarket last fall, months before opening the acclaimed Spanish brasserie Manzanilla, (345 Park Ave. South, manzanillanyc.com, 212-255-4086) they were struck with the beauty and culinary promise of a fresh Brussels sprout tree.
"We saw it and knew we wanted to do something with it" in the restaurant, said Guerrero, the chef de cuisine at Manzanilla, on a recent evening.
But Superstorm Sandy hit soon after that stroll through the city's most famous and largest Farmer's Market, and once Manzanilla finally opened in February of this year, Brussels sprouts season was over.
But the season is here again, and Guerrero and Executive Chef Garcia, who has a Michelin star for his restaurant Calima, in Spain, have added "Arbol de Coles de Bruselas," or Brussels sprout tree, to the menu.
Once loathed by many, the little sprout is experiencing a renaissance. The cold-weather vegetable is on menus all over the city and that's a good thing, because it's one of the best foods you can eat.
They contain sulforaphane, a chemical believed to have potent anticancer properties, as well as indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells, thus potentially blocking the growth of cancer cells.