Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Basil
A few weeks ago Kevin at Seriously Good made some Brussels sprouts flavored with mustard and vinegar. Even though I have a longtime favorite Brussels sprouts treatment, I fell quickly under the spell of Kevin's version.
However, when you stray from your true love it usually doesn't take long before you want to go home. So tonight, faced with a bag of sprouts, I went sheepishly back to my old standby. It's been a crowd-pleaser for more than a decade so what can I do?
1 pound Brussels sprouts
2 oz pancetta, thin slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 basil leaves, shredded
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt, hot sauce to taste
Trim the base of the sprouts and remove the dirty, dried-out outer leaves. Cut each sprout in half and then with a V-shaped cut remove the core. Grasp both sides of the sprout-half, with your thumbs on opposite sides of the core cut, and bend the sprout to spread the leaves slightly. (This technique opens the leaves of the sprouts slightly without destroying their integrity, which makes available more area, and more texture, for the added flavorings to hang on to.)
Steam sprouts 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the pancetta slices crosswise to form strips and sauté over medium high heat until the color deepens and the edges just start to brown. Remove the pan from the heat, throw in the garlic and toss for a few seconds.
When the sprouts have completed their steam, remove them to a bowl. Scrape the pancetta and garlic and any liquid or fat in the pan into the bowl with the sprouts. Add the basil and about a tablespoon of olive oil and the vinegar. Season with salt and hot sauce. Toss well to combine the ingredients and cover the bowl. Allow to rest for five minutes before serving. (The mixing of the ingredients and seasoning should be done immediately after steaming.) Toss the mixture again briefly before serving.
For more fun with Brussels Sprouts, see: