So, you’ve now seen brussel sprouts in two of my more recent posts, and you may be picking up on the fact that they have sort of had the effect of a very addictive drug. Before I made them on Christmas Eve, I had only tasted them once before, and I thought, “Hey, these aren’t so bad.” I also thought I could make them better. After seeing a Produce Pete segment on the weekend Today show, just before Christmas, I decided it was time to give it a try (Pete seems to convince me to try a lot of new things). You can’t imagine the eye rolling and grunting I got from DH when I announced my plans, but I put my foot down, and purchased some (by the way, they are very, very inexpensive). I browsed recipes on the Internet for a while and finally decided to use a method that I found in an Ina Garten recipe, but jazz it up with bacon and onions. HUGE HIT!!! So huge, that when we visit our families in a couple of weeks, I plan to make it as a part of the dinner I’m cooking for everyone. Even if you think you hate brussels, please give this a try, and remember: everything is better with bacon.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Begin by preheating your oven to 425 degrees. Then rinse the brussel sprouts and cut each one in half.
LOOK! They are pretty.
Set aside, and then brown small strips of bacon in a large frying pan, over medium heat.
You can use as much bacon as you would like, I used three slices. While the bacon is starting to render its fat, dice up some onion. When the bacon is golden and about halfway to crispy, add in the onion (if your bacon has rendered an excessive amount of fat, you can drain some off).
When the bacon is crisp (not hard) transfer it, and the onion, to a paper towel to drain and set aside. Then, add the halved brussel sprouts to the pan (you can skip this step if you don’t want to be bothered, it just gives them a head start), and season with salt and pepper.
When the brussels are just lightly browned, transfer them to a baking dish (gently, now), coat with olive oil and place in the oven to roast.
You really want the brussels to get dark and caramelized (I learned this from Mark Bittman of the New York Times, he suggests that brussel sprouts are best when they almost look like you’ve burned them), I cook mine for almost half an hour. After about 15 minutes, add the bacon and onion to the baking dish and give everything one good stir. You can check the coloring of the brussels, now. For me, 10-15 minutes longer, gets them right where I want them. When they are to your liking, remove them from the oven and dress them with a sprinkle of kosher salt (Ina says you should salt them like french fries).
Um…just look at them. How could you not want to just dig in? They are lovely, a real treat with the crispy outer leaves and soft, sweet center. Topped off with the smokiness of the bacon and the added sweetness of the onion, it’s really an almost perfect side dish. Just give them a shot, and ENJOY!