Yay, gold star for me! I have officially made the best-tasting Brussels sprouts ev-ahhh!!
OK, so maybe they’re adapted from the Barefoot Contessa’s new ‘Foolproof’ cookbook (lovelovelovelovelove). And maybe they have bacon in them, which is kind of like taking performance-enhancing drugs to win 7 Tour de France titles in that you are no longer on a level playing field once you add bacon.
Still… they came from my kitchen and they were, like, un-freaking-believable. YES, we are talking about Brussels sprouts, most-hated vegetable in all of history. But remember, there’s bacon.
Brussels sprouts always do well with bacon, but these are on a whole different level. You roast the bacon with the sprouts, so the smokey bacon fat kind of melts into the sprouts as they roast. They become soft, tender, bacony… then you finish them with a little bit of syrupy balsamic vinegar to add one last level of amazing. Oh, and it’s all done on one sheet pan in the oven after about 7 minutes of prep, and that’s if you’re an incredibly slow chopper and/or have a toddler trying to climb you like a tree.
We kind of fought over the last of the sprouts the following night, which is something that has never, ever been said about Brussels sprouts. It was like a tray of cruciferous vegetable nirvana. And it doesn’t matter if you make ’em only for the bacon. You can be all pious and holy and tell people you’re in it for all that healthy Brussels sprout sulforaphane (#nerd) as you laugh your way to the bacon display. Your secret is safe with me.
- 1½ lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half through the core
- 4 oz thick-cut, applewood smoked bacon, chopped into lardons
- ¼ c good olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 T good balsamic vinegar (preferably thick and syrupy, see below)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the sprouts on a sheet pan lined with foil or parchment paper (for easy clean-up... trust me). Include any loose leaves, which get nice and crispy when they roast. Add the bacon to the pan, then add the olive oil, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper. Toss with your hands and spread the mixture out in a single layer.
- Roast the sprouts for 20-30 minutes, until they are tender and nicely browned and the bacon is cooked. Toss once during roasting. Remove from oven, drizzle immediately with the balsamic, and toss again. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve hot.