In my never-ending search for interesting new ways to cook and eat Brussels sprouts, I found this recipe in the second of my Christmas gift cookbooks: Barefoot Contessa Foolproof. This is roasting—which I do to vegetables all the time—with the bonus of bacon and a balsamic vinegar twist. Sounds like a great cocktail.
Here’s what to do.
Get the Brussels sprouts.
Trim them of their outside leaves and cut them in half. Then toss them in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Get the bacon too. The original recipe called for pancetta, but this is my interpretation.
Slice it into 1/4″ pieces. This is much easier to do if the bacon is slightly frozen.
Pour all the prepared Brussels sprouts and bacon onto a rimmed sheet pan and roat them.
Drizzle balsamic vinegar syrup over them and serve.
From Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, by Ina Garten. Crown Publishing Group, 2012
Balsamic-roasted Brussels Sprouts
Tyler Florence has a terrific restaurant in San Francisco called Wayfare Tavern. It’s warm and cozy and the food is very earthy. These crisp roasted Brussels sprouts with spicy pancetta and syrupy balsamic vinegar are inspired by a dish that I ate there. If the sprouts are very large, I cut them in quarters.
1½ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half through the core
6 strips bacon, sliced ¼ inch thick
¼ cup good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon syrupy balsamic vinegar (see note)
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Place the Brussels sprouts on a sheet pan, including some of the loose leaves, which get crispy when they’re roasted. Cut the pancetta into ½-inch dice and add to the pan. Add the olive oil, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and toss with your hands. Spread out the mixture in a single layer.
Roast the Brussels sprouts for 20 to 30 minutes, until they’re tender and nicely browned and the pancetta is cooked. Toss once during roasting. Remove from the oven, drizzle immediately with the balsamic vinegar, and toss again. Taste for seasonings and serve hot.
Note: You can buy aged balsamic vinegar that’s syrupy—and very expensive—or you can boil good balsamic vinegar until reduced to half its volume and it will become syrupy as well.