Brussels sprouts seem to be a much maligned vegetable – they don’t get a lot of attention, but to me, they are one of the many gems of the fall harvest season. I can remember that when I was a kid, my mom and I were the only ones that would eat them, so she would cook them up with some butter, salt and pepper and serve them in little bowls along with pork chops and Mom’s awesome fried apples. I used to call them “little shrunken heads.” Even though I would eat them as a kid, I know I didn’t appreciate them as I do now.
Cabbage, and all of the brassica family of vegetables (cabbage, kale, broccoli, kohlrabi, brussels), are among my favorite veggies – I love their versatility, as they soak up whatever flavors you cook them with, and they generally make for economical meals. If you claim to be a brussels sprout hater, I do encourage you to try this recipe – Mark and I love these. Go to your farmer’s market and get some sprouts before the season passes.
Cooking them up is pretty simple, and employs my favorite quick sear/steam method that I picked up from Cook’s Illustrated – those folks know their veg. Garnished with a few grates of parmesan, this side dish is the perfect savory side dish.
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
3 cups brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, outer leaves removed, and cut in half
3 slices of bacon, chopped
1 T reserved bacon fat
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp black pepper
fresh grated parmesan for garnish
- Heat a large skillet (that you have a lid for) over medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook until crisp. Scoop out the bacon and drain on a paper towel. Reserve 1 T of the bacon fat in the pan, and pour the rest of the bacon fat off into your bacon grease container in the fridge (you do save your bacon fat for future use, right?).
- Return the skillet to medium heat. When the pan is hot, swirl the pan to get a light sheen of fat over the whole surface. Pour the brussel sprouts into the pan, and turn them all so that they are cut-side down. Let them cook this way for exactly two minutes. Meanwhile, pour 1/3 cup warm water into a measuring cup and add the salt – stir to dissolve.
- After the 2 minutes are up, shake the pan to toss the sprouts around a bit. Pour in the salted water, and cover the pan. Cook for 2 more minutes. Then, uncover the pan, add in the garlic and cooked bacon, stir, and cook for 1 more minute, or until the sprouts are tender, but not mushy. Pour the sprouts out onto the plates and garnish with parmesan cheese.
236cal/serving, 140cal from fat, 14.5g fat, 5mg cholesterol, 710mg sodium, 16g carbs, 12.3g protein