2 lbs brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved through the stem end
2-1/2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbs Kosher salt, divided
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
6 slices bacon, fried until crisp, crumbled; reserve drippings (divided - approx. 1-1/2 Tbs)
1/4 cup finely grated aged gruyere
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 425. Put the brussels sprouts in a shallow baking dish that will hold them in a snug single layer. Toss them with the melted butter, 3/4 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. Spread them evenly in the dish and roast, tossing once or twice, until browned in spots and tender-crisp when pierced with a knife, 20-25 minutes.
2. While the sprouts roast, combine the bread crumbs with 1 tablespoon bacon drippings and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Mix in the gruyere; set aside.
3. When the sprouts are tender, sprinkle the crumbled bacon over.
4. Pour the cream over the brussels sprouts and continue baking until the cream has thickened to a saucy consistency, coating the sprouts, 6 to 7 minutes, stir and cook for another 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Sprinkle the bread-crumb mixture evenly over the brussels sprouts and bake the gratin until the crust is deep golden brown, about 3 to 6 minutes. Watch CLOSELY so the topping does not burn.
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