Brown-butter vinaigrette and a generous garnish of bacon make this veggie side dish almost as satisfying as a main course. Even so, the overall flavor is surprisingly light and refreshing, thanks to the crisp, tender texture of the Brussels sprouts and a generous squirt of lemon.
This recipe uses a quick and efficient cooking method that browns the outside of the sprouts while gently steaming the inside. The trick is leaving the Brussels sprouts undisturbed in a lidded pot on the stove for not much more than five minutes. It's so much faster than roasting Brussels sprouts in the oven and also prevents the wet-sponge texture that makes overcooked Brussels sprouts so unappealing.
The pungency of the Brussels sprouts is tamed by bacon fat and by vinaigrette made from brown butter and lemon. A generous sprinkle of fresh herbs and more of that bacon top the dish off -- light, healthy and decadent all at the same time.
Servings: Four to six
Time in the Kitchen: 30 minutes
- 1 1/2 pounds of Brussels sprouts, bottom trimmed, cut in half (or cut into quarters if the sprouts are really large) (680 g)
- 4 slices of bacon
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus more to taste (15 ml)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (60 g)
- Several tablespoons of fresh thyme and/or parsley for garnish (15 to 60 ml)
- Sea salt to taste
In a wide pot or saute pan with a lid, cook the bacon until crisp.
Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside to cool. Chop the bacon into small bits.
Pour all the bacon fat out of the pan into a bowl. You'll need four tablespoons total, if you don't have enough then add olive oil or melted butter.
In the same wide pot or saute pan used to cook the bacon, warm half of the fat over medium heat. Add the shallot to the pan then arrange half of the Brussels sprouts (or as many as you can fit in the pan in one layer) by setting them flat side down.
Put the lid on and cook the sprouts between five to eight minutes. The texture should be slightly crisp but tender (not mushy). They should be deeply browned on one side.
Take the lid off and stir the sprouts, using a flat spatula so you can scrape all the delicious browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
Sauté the sprouts a few minutes more then spoon into a serving bowl.
Cook the remaining sprouts the same way: Add about two tablespoons of fat to the pan, set the sprouts in the pan flat side down in one layer, put on the lid and cook for at least five minutes before removing the lid and sautéing a few minutes more.
While the second batch of sprouts is cooking, put the lemon juice in a small bowl. Next, melt the butter in a pan until it turns golden brown. Butter moves from browned to burned quickly, so be ready to turn off the heat and pour the butter into the bowl with the lemon juice before it gets that far.
Whisk together the butter and lemon juice with a pinch of sea salt.
Pour over the Brussels sprouts.
Top with bacon and herbs. Add more lemon juice and sea salt to taste.
Mark Sisson is a former elite marathoner and triathlete. He is the author of the best-selling health and fitness book The Primal Blueprint, and publisher of the health blog MarksDailyApple.com. Become a fan on Facebook and visit Mark's blog for daily health tips.
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