Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Brussel Sprouts a la Colicchio

As I will be contributing a few dishes to the Thanksgiving meal that my brother and sister-in-law are hosting this year, it is now crunch time for me to perfect the items that I am planning to bring and prove my food blogging worthiness to my family. First up on my list is brussel sprouts, which I had been planning to simply pan roast with bacon. However, after coming across an interesting preparation for brussel sprouts in Tom Colicchio's Think Like a Chef, in which the brussel sprout leaves are blanched, then briefly sautéed in with bacon, I decided to see if it could improve upon the pan roasting method. While Colicchio's technique resulted in a wonderful vegetable side dish, with two blanching sessions and lots of brussel sprout leaves to separate, it is a bit too labor- and pan-intensive for Thanksgiving. For the big day, I will stick to the pan roast method. However, I will definitely keep this brussel sprouts technique in my fall repertoire as it produces perfectly tender brussel sprout leaves with no hint of bitterness.

Sautéed Brussel Sprout Leaves with Bacon
Adapted from Think Like a Chef


  • 3/4 lb brussel sprouts
  • 1/4 lb bacon, diced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Cut the base off of the brussel sprouts and cut them in half.
  2. Toss the halves into boiling, salted water and boil until the leaves begin to separate, about 3 minutes. Remove the brussel sprouts with a slotted spoon and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Keep the water in the pot that was used to cook the brussel sprouts at a boil.
  3. Separate the leaves of each brussel sprouts from the core, discarding the core. Place the leaves back into the boiling water and cook until they are tender, about 3 minutes. Drain the leaves and rinse them under cold water. Blot the leaves dry with paper towels.
  4. Fry the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is beginning to brown. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the brussel sprout leaves. Briefly toss the leaves with the bacon and bacon fat. Taste the leaves for salt and pepper and serve them immediately.

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