There are many over-achievers one comes upon in this world. Some are commendable and the others are just plain annoying. These sprouts fall into the latter category, I hope you’ll agree. I’ve decked them out with so many good extras you might be wondering if they still count as eating a vegetable (look if the government thinks pizza is a vegetable then these definitely are). Think of these as Superman rather than Clark Kent. Your average sprout…pretty plain looking, pretty bland, uninteresting. Toss in some superpowers though…in the form of pine nuts, bacon, caramelized shallots, a squeeze of lemon and a little parm and they may as well be flying through the sky in a lycra suit saving us from the baddies. Please feel free to step in and stop me at any time…..
What I’m trying to say is that there are vegetables and then there are pimped out vegetables and sprouts frankly need all the pimping out they can get. So this holiday season, help a sprout out, will ya? The process is remarkably simple. All you need is one pan- you could do it in three and multi-task but this will take all of twenty minutes to do from start to finish so you may as well save yourself (or the magic elves you live with) the washing-up. You can also make ahead all the add-in’s or exclude some all together…think superman without the cape but still the power to fly. If you’re serving this as part of a meal with all the trimmings….say Thanksgiving for example then you may want to omit the cheese. If you’re just serving a roast chicken with potatoes go the whole way and add in everything. Or if you’re the over-achieving guest who offered to bring a side-dish, bring this one. It may even outshine the hosts turkey. Hey if anyone can outshine the turkey, it’s superman…I mean super sprouts.
Sautéed Brussel Sprouts with pine nuts, bacon & shallots
Serves 6-8 as part of a lot of sides, 4 as just one of a couple of sides or just 1 hungry pregnant lady with a sprout craving.
2 Tbsp pine nuts
4 slices thin smoked bacon, cut into small strips
2 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lb brussel sprouts, ends trimmed, outer leaves removed and cut in half
1 oz parmesan cheese (grated or broken into small nubs)
Zest 1 lemon, juice 1/2-1
salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Heat a large deep saute pan over a low heat. Add the pine nuts and toast, tossing regularly until lightly golden. Remove from the pan.
• Turn the heat to medium and add your bacon to the pan, cooking until crisp and golden without burning. Remove from the pan onto a piece of paper towel. Drain all but 1 Tbsp of bacon fat.
•Turn the heat to high. Add the shallots to the pan and toss, coating in the fat. Stir over a high heat for 5-7 minutes or until golden- use a little water and a wooden spoon if they begin to stick to the bottom. Remove from the pan.
• Add a little oil to the pan and keeping the heat on high add the halved brussel sprouts and any leaves that might have fallen off. Toss in the oil and then allow to sit for a couple of minutes before tossing or stirring the pan again. You want to get a nice color on them. Once you have a nice color on both sides (about 5-7 minutes) check to see if they are done by pricking with a sharp knife. They knife should stick in fairly easily. If they are small they will most likely be done. If they are bigger and still hard add a splash or two of water and allow them to gently steam.
• Once cooked, sprinkle over the lemon zest, juice of 1/2 the lemon (you can always add more) and the pine nuts, bacon and shallots. Season to taste. Fill a serving dish and then sprinkle with the parmesan, if using. Serve hot!
Looking for an easier way to serve sprouts? look no further….roasted with almonds