There are few things I love making more these days than Brussels Sprouts. I blame my friend Patty for introducing me to the “gateway” Brussels Sprout recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook, otherwise I may have forever skipped this delight.
Patty is also the one who inspired today’s recipe. She had made a boatload of sprouts for Thanksgiving and had a ton of leaves left over and threw something together which I’ve been trying to recreate ever since. It’s been “arduous” experimentation, but I think I finally got it.
Here’s what you need:
- 1 lb of Brussels Sprouts(a bag from Trader Joe’s is my “go to” when I can’t find them fresh on the stalk)
- 1/4 cups chopped pecans
- 4- 6 strips of bacon, cooked and diced (feel free to upgrade to pancetta, Italian bacon, if you’re so inclined)
- 2-3 garlic cloves, slightly smashed
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil (approximately)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 lemon wedges
- Salt & Lemon Pepper to taste
Using the flat side of a large knife, smash the unpeeled garlic cloves with the heel of your hand. You should hit the knife hard enough to separate the clove from the peel. Put the cloves in the bowl where you’ll be putting the sprout leaves. Wash the sprouts and cut off the tough bottom of the bulb, then cut in half. Roughly separate the outer leaves from the core of the bulb. Don’t worry about being precise or this will take you forever! Just bust them apart quickly as best you can.By the time I’ve completed the task I question whether the effort will pay off (it does), and I definitely have a bunch of odd shaped pieces. Again, don’t worry about making this perfect!
Place a sturdy cookie sheet into an oven and preheat to 450 degrees. (If you don’t own great cookie sheets, check out the recommendation here). While the oven preheats, drizzle your sprouts with olive oil, tossing as you go. Make sure you have enough oil on the leaves so they glisten, but aren’t saturated. Toss in salt, pepper, and sugar. ALWAYS remember the sugar! This kills any bitterness in the sprouts and adds just a touch of caramelization.Toss in a handful of chopped pecans. (I’ve given measurements above, but this recipe is forgiving enough that you can just eyeball the amounts!)When the oven chimes that it’s reached 450, quickly remove the baking sheets and spread the leaves over a single layer on the pan.Bake for approximately 10 minutes, making sure to check in and stir if any of the bits look as though they are burning. While still hot, squeeze with lemon and toss with diced bacon. Remove the cloves of garlic before putting into a serving bowl!