I used to really not like brussels sprouts growing up. I'm not really sure why, to be honest. They were always kind of dry, bland, and...ew. A couple of years ago, I was eating dinner at Cafe Cluny with my family in the city and had a delicious dish of roasted brussels sprouts with apple butter. It was my first memory of a positive brussels experience. Oh so yum.
In recent years, I've started to explore various brussels preparations: braising and/or steaming in chicken broth; roasting, sauteing with a bit of maple syrup, steam roasting... My favorite preparation in a restaurant right now is at The Dressing Room, where they roast the brussels with juicy dried cranberries. Oh, it's really really good.
This past weekend, I was craving salt and sweet (go figure). I spotted some brussels sprouts in the market (alas, not as small as I have been buying recently -- but they were so so fresh). Add to my cart a pack of Niman Ranch maple-applewood bacon, and some grade B VT maple syrup, and I've got a kick-ass veggie side dish.
This dish takes mere minutes to put together: chop bacon slices into 1/4-1/3" pieces. Heat some oil in a pan (oil helps render the fat in bacon...yeah, I know. Counterintuitive). Toss in bacon and gently render til golden. Add in quartered brussels sprouts (I used about 3 slices of bacon for 2 handfuls of brussels -- enough for 2 people). Season with salt and pepper. Saute until the sprouts are just beginning to caramelize, and are nearly cooked. Drizzle over some maple syrup and toss to coat. Finish cooking and serve immediately.
I wish I had a picture to accompany this post -- to bad they were so so good and we were so so hungry. The brussels disappeared all too fast!!!