Thursday, November 11, 2010

'Cause Everything is Better with Bacon...

In the fall, when Brussels sprouts are in season, this is one of the most comforting dishes I turn to. As a child, Brussels sprouts creeped me out. Maybe it was because they were just tasteless the way my mom prepared them (sorry, mom... ). Then again, maybe it was because the only ones we could find back then were the big gnarly ones, not the ones fresh off the stalk I find four times a week at the Union Square Greenmarket.

After coming home quite, quite late recently--famished to the point I could not tell how hungry I was--I remembered I had picked up some sprouts the day before on my lunch break. Lucky for me, I had some smoked bacon in the fridge, and a brand new bottle of grade B maple syrup (ah, the joys of stocking the refrigerator again).

Chopping vegetables, with a large glass of wine by my side, I find supremely comforting and meditative, something I find myself needing to decompress after long days researching, writing, and editing in front of the computer. So, with my large glass of malbec to my left, I set in chopping.

This dish is really quite easy--it's all about the ingredients. And next time I write again about Brussels sprouts, maybe it will be with a new recipe, my latest obsession from a restaurant here in New York called Alta: deeply roasted Brussels sprouts with apple, creme fraiche, and pistachios. Mmm...

'Til then? Maple and bacon, 'cause everything is better with bacon....

Maple Bacon Brussels

8 slices of bacon, thinly sliced into lardons
1/2 shallot, finely diced (optional)
3 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
2 tablespoons maple syrup (plus more if you wish)

Heat a saute pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and saute until golden. Add the onion and sweat for 1-2 minutes. Add the sprouts. Cook for until tender (add 1/4 cup of water if you need some additional moisture to tenderize them). Add maple syrup. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Serve hot.

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