This week’s recipe is the result of an impulse buy. But seeing those beautiful, almost prehistoric looking stalks of Brussels sprouts, I couldn’t resist. I love them! In years past, I had relegated the little green globes to the bottom of my vegetable list. Why? Because during my childhood, my mom overcooked them, thinking the result would be milder and more palatable. But overcooking Brussels sprouts leaches out their sulfurous-smelling, cancer-preventative compounds, making them soggy and less nutritious. Searching for better ways to prepare them, I perfected this simple, delicious recipe: A delicious quick sauté of Brussels sprouts petals, with diced onion, bacon and the tiniest drizzle of maple syrup. To make it, the only fiddly part is removing the tiny cabbage cores. You just poke the tip of a sharp knife in the base of each one, twist and cut that little piece out. Then, you can easily pluck the petals apart, wash them well, and sauté. As a side dish, this is fantastic with poultry. Or just pile them over whipped potatoes for a simple warming lunch.
• 3 cups small, fresh Brussels sprouts
• 3 or 4 slices uncured, smoked bacon
• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 small onion, peeled, cored and finely chopped
• 2 Tbsp water
• Drizzle of 2 tsp maple syrup
• Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
• Optional garnish: sprinkle of toasted, chopped pecans
PREP SPROUTS: Trim and discard sprout bottoms and tough, outermost leaves. Poke the tip of a sharp knife into the base of each of the Brussels sprouts and cut the tiny core out. Discard the cores. Separate as many green petals as you can from each cleaned sprout. Shred the remaining bits of sprouts. Soak petals & the shredded bits briefly (10 minutes) in lightly salted water to remove any insects or debris. Drain well; pat dry.
MAKE BACON: Set oven rack to center position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bacon on cookie sheet and oven-fry several slices of bacon.
SAUTÉ VEGETABLES: While the bacon cooks, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté onion over medium heat in the oil until soft. Turn heat to high. Add 2 Tbsp of water and the Brussels sprouts petals to the pan. Toss and shake the pan until petals are bright green and tender. Set aside.
ASSEMBLE: Remove bacon from cookie sheet and blot with paper towels. Chop and crumble bacon over cooked sprouts in a serving dish. Drizzle with maple syrup. Add salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste or, if you prefer, add a sprinkle of toasted, chopped pecans on top. Serve.