Or, Everything’s Better with Bacon!
I remember the first time I ever had Brussels Sprouts. Those brownish-green, soggy, sour, fowl-smelling things at least looked interesting and different from anything I had ever eaten before. But as I lifted the fork to my mouth, I began to have doubts. Reasonable doubts. Ewwwww! They tasted like a punishment! I decided right then and there I would never, ever, ever, eat another one as long as I lived. But my parents seemed to like them. I figured they were pretending to like them for our benefit. I’m pretty sure they were neve presented at the family table again.
My, how times have changed!
These Brussels Sprouts were requested,…. yes! requested by my lovely oldest daughter for Christmas Dinner. They are that amazingly delicious. Fresh, crunchy, tender, savory, smoky and sweet. A far cry from the Brussels Sprouts of my childhood. Actually a whole other world from my childhood. I’ve totally changed my mind. I eat these as often as I can, especially on holidays!
Truth be told, there are many reasons these are not the Sprouts of old. First, you start with FRESH sprouts. They don’t come in a can or a little box from the freezer. Also they are roasted with BACON. Has there ever been a dish that has bacon and is anything less than delicious? Further, they are finished with reduced balsamic vinegar. Ok just go back two sentences and replace the word bacon with the words “reduced balsamic vinegar”. Enough said.
Like so many other of my favorite dishes, these are quite simple to make. Just assemble a baking pan of sprouts and bacon, drizzle with a little olive oil, season and roast in the oven. Then reduce some balsamic vinegar and drizzle over the entire plate. Enjoy! (And make again ASAP)
BEST BRUSSELS SPROUTS
1 1/2 lb fresh Brussels Sprouts
4 oz. bacon (3-5 slices, depending upon thickness)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 t Kosher salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
1/3 c balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 400F.
Cut medium and large Brussels Sprouts in half, leaving smaller ones whole. Spread sprouts on a 12×18 baking sheet.
Cut bacon into 1/4″ squares. Scatter over sprouts.
Pour olive oil onto sprouts and bacon. Mix altogether with hands or a large spoon. Add salt and pepper. Mix again. Place in oven.
Roast 30 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes.
In a small saucepan, reduce balsamic vinegar over medium-low heat until syrupy. Pour warm syrup over sprouts. Enjoy!