Brussels sprouts. We need to talk. My poor, neglected vegetable friend. Don’t listen to what others say about you sometimes. They just don’t understand what it’s like to be you. You’re unique and delicate. You should only be prepared in certain ways and sadly… there are many home cooks out there who don’t understand your special needs. People have been cooking you incorrectly for generations.
No vegetable likes to be boiled in plain water and I don’t see why anyone would think you’re any different! Water makes you soggy and, oddly enough, makes you smell and taste rather sulphurous. It’s ok, like I said you’re unique. You don’t HAVE to smell bad. Just stay away from the water and make sure other people don’t submerge you. You like high heat in the form of a 400 degree F oven or a hot saute pan. Some olive oil or bacon fat to help get you all nice and caramelized. Maybe a bit of salt to bring out your finer qualities.
And when I get my hands on you, you get the works. Brown sugar, bacon, and a bit of balsamic vinegar. My darling, you’ve never tasted better.
- 2 cups brussels sprouts
- ¾ cup salt-cured pork or thick cut bacon, cubed (see note)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- Cut off the root ends of the brussels sprouts and pull off any old outer leaves. Slice them in half.
- In a large skillet, render the fat from the bacon over low to medium-low heat. Once the fat has mostly melted down, turn up the heat and brown the bacon cubes until brown and crunchy. Set aside to drain on a paper towel. Remove all but two tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan.
- In the same skillet, add the brussels and allow them to caramelize on one side. Deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar, using a spatula to scrape up any brown bits and incorporate them with the brussels. Continue to saute the brussels on high heat for a few minutes, shaking the pan, until they have softened up a bit. Add the bacon back to the pan along with the brown sugar. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved and is evenly coating the brussels sprouts.