Brussel Sprouts are one of the most misunderstood vegetables- they’re like Charlie Sheen minus the rants. Brussel Sprouts, given a bad rap by kids with turned up noses and perpetuated by poor cooking technique, are a lovely green jewel; and they have been sold short. They are incredibly healthy, filling and delicious; and I am here to elevate this vegetable to its proper standing.
I mean, I get how brussel sprouts have gotten negative press; when cooked poorly- by over boiling in water- they’re DOA. Because of its pungent raw aroma, boiling them in water alone, makes for an acrid side dish- at best. But when blanched quickly in flavorful broth and then sautéed until the edges are golden brown, brussels sprouts become the food of the gods. Yeah, they’re that good.
I speak to you as a convert, a former loather of the brussel- I’d had them in many ways, none of them good; but after two years of culinary school, I came away with a few lessons- never catch a falling knife, season appropriately and brussel Sprouts are amazing- when done right.
Brussel Sprouts are really good- seriously good; and if you naysayers still have your noses turned up I say, with love, grow up; and, trust me. There is no way to describe how delicious this recipe is and how much you will like it; but I’ll try. The result of these flavors in one bowl is nutty, salty, robust and romantic- if that’s at all possible. Why romantic? I don’t know, likely because everybody enjoys a little romance. I digress, brussel Sprouts with pancetta and almonds is perfect- plain and simple. Trust me on this one.
Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta and Almonds
makes 3 servings
2 cups brussel sprouts, trimmed of the woody outside pieces and halved
4 pieces pancetta
½ cup sliced almonds
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place pancetta in heated oven and cook until crisp- approximately 7-10 minutes. Cool and crumble.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil- feel free to use chicken or vegetable stock; add the trimmed brussel sprouts and cook for 2 minuts or until they turn a vibrant green. Drain and set aside. In a dry non stick pan heated to medium high heat toast the almonds. WARNING: do not walk away during this point; once the nuts start to brown, burning is only seconds away- keep your eyes on them.
Heat olive oil to medium high in a non stick pan, add the brussel sprouts. Cook for 7 minutes or until they start to brown on all sides. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and sprinkle with toasted almonds and crumbled pancetta.