I realize I might be alienating the children of the world by writing this, but I have to say it: I love Brussels sprouts. Always have, always will. In general, I pretty much love most leafy greens, but there’s something about these veggies- like tiny, compact cabbage-heads, full of nuanced, slightly bitter flavor- that always leaves me reaching for more. Add that to the fact that they don’t need much to liven them up, and I’m sold.
This recipe is proof of that. With 5 ingredients and the simplest of instructions, it couldn’t be easier to make. Beef bacon is baked in the oven, yielding crispy, smoky strips of meat. The sprouts are sauteed until soft and caramelized, and then the two are combined (with the rendered beef fat!) to make a side dish that’s easy, filling and exceedingly flavorful. I’ve made this a couple of time in the past few weeks, and each time I change it up a little bit. Sometimes I add lemon juice and hot pepper flakes, other times aromatics such as onions and garlic, and sometimes I even add maple syrup, which lends a toasty-sweet counterpoint to the dish.
It’s an easy, in-season side that’s quick to make and quicker to disappear. What more could you ask for, besides for seconds?
Yields: around 6 servings
Why I love this recipe: Brussels sprouts turn caramelized and fork tender when sauteed, and the addition of crispy, oven-baked beef bacon adds smoky flavor and makes this an easy and filling side.
Notes: I find that the easiest way to check Brussels sprouts for bugs is simply to remove 1 or 2 of the outer leaves. Beyond that, virtually no dirt gets in. Washing them afterwards is always a safe bet, as is halving them, which the recipe calls for.
Variation: use turkey bacon instead of beef bacon. Or, as the sprouts are sauteing, add in 2 cloves of minced garlic, or half of a diced onion. For a little bit of heat, add up to 1/2 a teaspoon of Aleppo pepper. For a sweet counterpoint to the smoky beef bacon, add 1/2 a tablespoon of maple syrup the mixture.
- 2 lbs. washed, dried and halved fresh Brussels sprouts
- 6 oz. beef bacon
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt, for seasoning
- pepper, for seasoning
- Heat the oven to 400°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then lay the slices of beef bacon on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until slices are crispy and the fat has rendered out onto the sheet. Remove and let cool. Then slice the beef bacon into crispy little bits, setting aside with the rendered fat until needed.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.
- Add the washed and trimmed Brussels sprouts and saute for 8-10 minutes until golden brown and fork tender.
- Once caramelized, add the beef bacon bits, the rendered fat and season with salt and pepper. Saute for another 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and taste for seasoning, adjusting if needed. Serve immediately.