EATS: Brussels sprouts, yum!

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December 21, 2012 by annmquintero

Brussels sprouts, from the cabbage family, have been the symbol for all that is gross with vegetables for a lot of us. They’ve been the punchline in more child-focused comic strips and cartoons than I care to count. But I’m delighted that they’ve had a resurgence in popularity in the last few years. When prepared properly, instead of boiled into grey oblivion, brussels sprouts can be sweet and roasty and wonderful.

Brussels sprouts on the stalk, dried figs, bacon, balsamic vinegar, and brussels sprouts off the stalk.

Brussels sprouts on the stalk, dried figs, bacon, balsamic vinegar, and brussels sprouts off the stalk.

In case you’ve never seen brussels sprouts on the stalk, I’m including a shot of a bunch I picked up at the farmer’s market today. I’ve heard about people roasting them whole on the stalk, but today I’m going to share my favorite stovetop preparation: Brussels sprouts with bacon, dried figs, and balsamic vinegar.

What you’ll need:

Cutting board
Knife
Large skillet with a lid
Slotted spoon

Brussels sprouts
Bacon (4-5 slices)
Dried figs (4, quartered)
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Figs and sprouts, ready for the pan.

Figs and sprouts, ready for the pan.

First chop the bacon into bite-size pieces and place into the skillet on medium heat to crisp and render their fat. While the bacon is cooking, start prepping your sprouts. When choosing your sprouts, smaller is generally more flavorful. And you’ll want your sprouts to be all about the same size to ensure even cooking. Remove any loose outer leaves, trim off the bottoms, and slice in half. Quarter your dried figs and set aside.

When the bacon is done, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Drain all but a tablespoon or so of the bacon fat from the pan and turn up the heat to medium-high. Place the sprouts in the pan, cut-side down and let them brown for a few minutes. Once they’ve gotten a little caramelization (browning=flavor), add figs and stir. Hit with a little salt and pepper and a splash of water and cover for 5-7 minutes.

When sprouts are tender, hit with a few splashes of the balsamic vinegar and re-introduce the bacon.

IMG_0176You are ready to eat! How painfully easy is that?! I’ve definitely made a meal out of this recipe, but it also makes a wonderful side dish to just about anything. Salty, sweet, bacony vegetables. It’s got it all!

(If this is your first time reading EATS, I encourage you to check out the Introductions post for my philosophy and list of must-have kitchen items.)

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