Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sprout Shout Out

We kids feared many things in those days - werewolves, dentists, North Koreans, Sunday school - but they all paled in comparison with Brussels sprouts.
~ Dave Barry, Miami Herald columnist

I love Brussels sprouts. Adore them. I'm well aware that is an unpopular opinion, and I could care less, because that means there are more for me. I make them on a very regular basis...and the preparation falls into one of three categories based on my mood. I roast them whole if I'm feeling lazy, do them halved if I'm mildly ambitious, and opt for shredded when I want the end result to be transcendant.

On a recent trip to Vegas, we ate at an amazing steakhouse called Stripsteak (if the opportunity presents itself, this place is a must), and as soon as I saw they had shredded Brussels sprouts as a side dish, all bets were off. (Ignore the obvious pun.) They were simply heavenly. Studded with chunks of thick smoky bacon and tossed in an apple cider vinegar reduction, they practically melted in our mouths. Peppery, slightly sweet, with a bit of char and caramelization...I simply cannot fathom anyone not liking these.

I decided to try my hand at recreating this recipe...and while it wasn't exact, it was close.  I used balsamic vinegar in place of the apple cider, which provided a bit of tang to contrast with the sweetness of the sprouts and the salty bits of bacon.  I finished them with some fresh pecorino romano cheese and that added additional depth of flavor.  This is so simple to make...cut off the ends of the sprouts, halve them and then chop them until they are finely shredded.  Saute the shredded sprouts in a bit of butter, olive oil and minced garlic until they are tender with a slight browned crisp, then toss them with chopped cooked bacon (I used a thick cut peppered bacon) and balsamic vinegar that has been reduced in a saucepan until it is slightly thickened.  Squeeze a touch of fresh lemon juice over them, add a sprinkle of brown sugar, grate the cheese over the dish and dig in.

(These photos aren't great, as I took them with my phone, but you get the drift.)

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