Too many people don’t know how to cook sprouts. If you’re one of them, here’s a sweet and savory recipe to get you started!
One of the most common ways Brussels sprouts are prepared in the United States is by boiling, steaming or roasting – more than enough reason right there to stay the hell away from them. Brussels sprouts are of the same family as cabbage, kale, and collard greens, and if steaming, boiling or roasting a plate of any of those vegetables and serving them up to your family sounds like a fab-oo idea, then by all means stop reading here, head to the kitchen and take one giant step toward complete familial alienation.
Say it out loud… “how does boiled kale sound to everyone tonight?” and you see my point.
MG insists that the reason Brussels sprouts aren’t more popular in this country is the way they are traditionally prepared. Brussels sprouts are packed with vitamin A and C, and have lots of healthy fiber. Plus, they are really cute to look at and photograph fabulously. Sadly, these spunky green babies have been maligned by the lack of recipes showcasing them as a compliment to other flavors as opposed to being the featured flavor in a dish. This recipe solves that problem by putting their cabbage-like earthy flavor up against the spicy smokiness of bacon and the sweet addictive flavor of figs.
This was very first experimentation with Brussels sprouts in my entire life. They sat… in my refrigerator… for several days, until I had the guts to actually put this recipe to the test. It took three calls to MG to ask, “You like Brussels sprouts, riiiighht?,” and three rounds of him re-assuring me that yes… Brussels sprouts are delicious, are nutritious and have merely had their reputation unfairly marred by a lack inventiveness in preparation.
Brussels Sprouts with Figs and Bacon
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 8-10 Brussels sprouts
- 10-20 figs, dried, or fresh, with stems clipped
- 4-6 slices of bacon (go even further to enhance the smokiness – and fair warning to weight watchers – you’ll be preparing the sprouts and figs in rendered bacon fat)
- 1-2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- 1/4- 1/3 cup of water
First, fry up your bacon in a skillet with some oil, and as it’s cooking, shred your Brussels sprouts. This can be done in a matter of seconds with the slicing blade in your food processor, or if you feel the need to work out some hidden sexual frustration, break out the old knife and cutting board and have at it.
Once your bacon is near but not completely cooked, drop in your shredded Brussels sprouts and reduce your heat, stirring constantly in a stir-fry fashion. I let them work into each other for about 8 minutes, but you could take them off in less time.
The water can be thrown in at this point, to bring the flavors together. The figs should go in with about two minutes to spare before you’re ready to pull your skillet off the heat.
Make sure your water has evaporated completely, and be sure to continue to stir. As long as you do that, keep on eye on the color of your bacon, and remember to add the figs in only towards the end, you really cannot mess this up.
Once out of the skillet, drip in a tablespoon or two of Balsamic and stir up. Dotting the plate with Balsamic adds a nice touch, something my final presentation could have used. Serve with white wine, and enjoy!
BONUS PIC – appetizers were also served that night. Muenster cheese with crackers and fresh blackberries. The mild flavor and softness of the cheese makes it a perfect partner for the juicy sweetness of the berries. Also a slam dunk with the white wine, and very photogenic!