There was a time when I can remember being absolutely horrified of Brussels sprouts. When I was little my mother hardly made them, and whenever we had them at friends’ houses they were always the over-cooked, mushy, previously frozen kind. In high school I participated in a journalism program in Berkeley. A friend of mine had made dinner reservations at Chez Panisse, and after that glorious meal, I was a devout Brussels fan.
It turns out most people are afraid of foods because of their bad experiences with them during childhood. It’s different from when you’re an adult and have a bad dish here and there; more than likely, you’ll be more likely to try that thing again. After getting a taste of Alice Waters’ Brussels sprouts with bacon and onions,I knew this was an vegetable that I would have to get acquainted with.
A couple of years ago, I was gifted with a copy of Alice Waters’ “The Art of Simple Food.” To this day, it is one of my most favorite resources when cooking at home, and it’s one of the only cookbooks that I have read cover to cover. I have taken her recipe for Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Onions and modified it for this delicious autumnal side dish.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/ Bacon (serves 4)
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Arrange bacon (preferably slab bacon or lardons) on a baking sheet
3. Cook bacon until crisp (times will vary) then remove from oven (keep oven on)
4. Place bacon on a paper towl to drain and reserve rendered fat on the sheet
5. Rinse one pound of fresh Brussels sprouts and remove any damaged outer leaves
6. Trim stem and then cut sprouts in half (or into quarters if they’re large)
7. Toss sprouts in rendered bacon fat to coat evenly and place on baking sheet
8. Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste
9. If there is not enough fat to evenly coat the sprouts, drizzle one tablespoon onto them
10. Roast Brussels sprouts for 25-30 minutes (stirring every 10-15minutes) or until tender and carmelized
11. Roughly chop bacon and toss in with sprouts
12. Optional: serve with candied walnuts and/or dried cranberries or toss in one table spoon of apple cider vinegar