Sunday, November 6, 2011

Eat Your Brussel Sprouts

I mean it. Eat brussel sprouts. They are delicious, misunderstood veggies.

The secret is to cook them at a very, very high heat, helping to create a light char. It also helps to pair them with ingredients that complement their strong flavor. Think sweet, salty, and smoky. We used salty smoky bacon, warm and sweet apples, and sweet and spicy candied pecans.

We started by creating some yummy toasted, sugared pecans that we would toss with the brussel sprouts once they were ready to serve. These are very simple to make, simply melt about one tbsp of butter with one tbsp of honey or maple syrup in a skillet. Throw in a generous handful of pecans, sprinkle with about one tbsp of brown sugar, a pinch of salt and cayenne pepper, and a touch of cinnamon. Stir until the nuts are evenly coated and toast on medium heat until lightly browned and really fragrant.

To cook the sprouts - We began by cooking two strips of bacon in a skillet. When done, take the bacon out and crank the heat up on the skillet to high (we went to setting 8 out of 10 on our electric stove).

In the meantime, make sure the sprouts are well washed. Cut each sprout in half. Finely slice one large shallot. Finely chop an apple, we used about 1/2 cup of apple slices. All at once, toss the sprouts, shallots, and apples into the skillet. Season with salt, pepper, dried rosemary, and finely crushed fennel seeds. The heat should be high enough that the sprouts begin to brown in less than a minute. Make sure to shimmie the pan so that everything cooks well on all sides and nothing burns. After 2-4 minutes, put a lid on the skillet and allow the sprouts to steam for 2-3 minutes. Take off the lid and add a splash of balsamic vinegar, tossing the spouts to coat them evenly.

Serve the sprouts with the crumbled bacon and candied pecans on top.

We pretty much ate this dish as a main course, serving with whole grain bread on the side and a few slices of good cheese (I could eat cheese and bread for every meal).

I get into a weird pattern where I will make something fabulous and it's all I will want to eat for two weeks. Like these sprouts, I loved this dish so much that I'm making it for family on Tuesday. However, I think I will slice the sprouts into fine strips, kind of like what cabbage would look like in a cole slaw. This is a great trick if you want to serve sprouts to someone who claims them don't like them, it's like a disguise, you can call the dish "warm apple and bacon slaw" and no one will know!


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