14 November 2013

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

For the final installment of Brussels Sprouts-Palooza I present my most-oft used version of Sprouts. During my decade eating meat-free, my carnivorous friends and family often tried to tempt me with bacon. It was a common held belief that bacon was the one item that all vegetarians chewed in their dreams, imagining sizzling Sunday breakfasts. I never really got it until I started eating meat again and realized the full potential of bacon to flavor any vegetable, soup, what-have-you, with a richness and depth of flavor that isn't necessarily porky. 

The combination of bacon and cabbage is a time worn one and so it also makes sense that sprouts with bacon would be a winner. I roast mine to crispness, dressing them with simple olive oil and mustard before they go in the oven.   

To make a simple meal of the sprouts, I like to serve them over toast with melted cheese and mustard. Simply spread a thin layer on chunks of crusty bread, sourdough is nice, top with a few slices of sharp cheddar cheese, place under the broiler of your oven till bubbling, and pile the sprouts on top. Wa-la! Weeknight dinner.
Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

3/4 pound thick-sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 pounds Brussels Sprouts, thinly sliced by hand (or in a food processor)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425 F. Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet or cast iron pan, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels. 

Place sprouts in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl whisk together olive oil and mustard. Pour this over the sprouts and using your hands coat the sprouts with the mixture. Spread sprouts on a large sheet pan, big enough to hold all of the sliced sprouts in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper. Place the pan in a pre-heated oven and cook for 15 minutes, remove and flip the sprouts so that both sides are browned, with some of the thinner pieces getting slightly crispy. Transfer the slaw to a platter, scatter the bacon on top and serve.

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