Sunday, October 12, 2008

Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta

Brussel sprouts (or Brussels sprouts — either spelling is OK), the little miniature cabbages that we love to hate, are in season. They're cheap, plentiful, and, popular opinion aside, pretty tasty. At the farmer’s market you can buy them right on the stalk, which is kind of fun. Go ahead and walk around like the Queen Mum with her weird vegetable scepter.

I cook them regularly. Usually some variation of this recipe. This week I had some of the new La Quercia pancetta, which is outstanding.

~ Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta ~

Chop the pancetta in small cubes, about a quarter inch on each side. Warm them on a low heat till they're translucent. They'll look otherworldly, like they're glowing from within.

Cut the base off the brussel sprouts and peel off the outside leaves. Cut them in half if they’re bigger than in an inch or so across. Add them to the pan with a couple pats of butter.

Brown them for a bit. Add chicken broth so it covers the bottom of the pan (water is a distant second as an option). Throw in a couple leaves of fresh herbs if you have them. I added some sage.

Put a lid on and let cook for a bit till they're as soft as you'd like. It can take a half an hour or more.I prefer a little al dente, just a little firm to the bite.

Taste and season with salt and pepper.

I had an ear of corn so I cut the kernels straight off the cob into the pan near the end. It adds a nice bit of sweetness, which is good if your dining partner thinks sprouts are a little too bitter on their own.

Finish them uncovered in a 375 degree oven if you’d like them crispy.

Ad the end, serve on a warm plate with a twist of black pepper and maybe a pinch of Marash pepper and a squeeze of lemon.

A pound or so of sprouts
A couple ounces of bacon (or pancetta)
A little bit of butter
A half cup or so of chicken broth
Salt, pepper

Fresh sage
Fresh corn
Marash pepper


Allen said...

We grow these at home and let the dogs eat them right off the stalk.

Joe said...

I pretty much hated Brussel sprouts until I started cooking them myself. This is my favorite. I often will add caramelized onions to the sprouts and if I have them chestnuts.