Like broccoli and beets, Brussels sprouts have long been maligned as one of those vegetables that everybody loves to hate. Not only picky youngsters, but many adults often pass on the Brussels sprouts, not so much because they really dislike them but because they assume that they do.

Part of the reason may be that Brussels sprouts are often overcooked, which destroys their inherently delicate flavor and renders them bitter and mushy in consistency. Done correctly, however, they can be quite delicious and should be rightly enjoyed.

They’re lovely to look at, as well. As their name implies, Brussels sprouts come from Brussels, Belgium, where they were first grown centuries ago. They’re part of the cabbage family and are related to broccoli and cauliflower.

Now, fortunately, they’re available in this country almost year round, and can be served as a side dish or an appetizer. One pound of sprouts serves about four people.

When you’re selecting sprouts, look for the small to medium ones that are bright green, firm and compact. If you buy a carton of fresh sprouts that are of mixed sizes, cut the larger ones in half so that they will all be cooked at the same time.

This simple recipe is a nice way to try them.

The buttery, nutty dressing complements the delicate flavor of the sprouts without obscuring it.