Monday, November 30, 2009

Brussels sprouts, shake 'em all about

Bacon, you say? Isn't this blog about eating healthily? Yes. For a couple of decades, I avoided cured meats entirely. There are lots of good reasons to do so. Then I discovered "natural, uncured" bacon in the "health food" section of grocery stores. (All the quotation marks are because these words can have many definitions; I try to navigate a reasonable, common-sense course down this thorny path.) Anyhoo, let's face it. A little bacon can make a big difference in a lot of dishes. Hence, My Bacon Philosophy: Use "natural," use just a little, and use it rarely.

I read somewhere that you can roast Brussels sprouts with bacon, but thought that would be too much work. Pots and skillets are so much easier to wash than roasting pans! Nutmeg classically brings out the flavor of cruciferous vegetables, and since nutmeg is also used in fettuccini, I thought a bit of Parmesan cheese would finish this dish off well. It was delicious.

Trim ends of Brussels sprouts, discarding any unattractive leaves. Save the nice leaves that fall off, though. Cut sprouts in half, or if they are very small and cute, leave them whole.

Cut bacon into pieces however you like. Fry it up in a large-ish skillet. When bacon is done, lift out with slotted spatula onto a paper-towel-covered plate to drain. Put aside the bacon you want to use for this recipe, then freeze the rest. It's great to add to soups, eggs, or wherever you want a bit of bacon flavor.

Drain almost all the fat from the pan. Over medium heat, deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine. Add the Brussels sprouts and saute until tender but not mushy. Add a little water if necessary.

Sprinkle with a bit of freshly-grated nutmeg and stir briefly, stir in the reserved bacon, then transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese.


  1. Oh, I am in LOVE! With the blog's title, your commentary, your recipes. In fact, on this my first visit to your blog, I'm going to try cooking some brussel sprouts as you did. Unfortunately, I'll have to use some frozen sprouts--that were fresh on the "cob" when I bought them, she admits with a blush. Q: where in the world would *I* get "freshly grated nutmeg!?"

  2. A: At the health food store in the bulk spice aisle! Take the little nutmegs and grate them on a fine grater, like the one found on some hand graters, or with a Microplane! You'll never go back to the stale nutmeg in little cans ...