Wednesday, January 23, 2013

orange balsamic glazed brussels sprouts with bacon

I personally don't know why people dislike/hate/are revolted by brussels sprouts. I assume it's due to a bad experience. I never ate brussels sprout anything growing up, so for a long time I never knew how they tasted or what to do with them. Then, I had a life-changing brussels sprout moment at Motorino in New York a few years ago. Brussels sprout and pancetta pizza.. holy goodness. That pizza is so scrumptious that it hurts to be 3,000 miles away. I literally want to cuddle with that pizza. Okay, I'll keep it G-rated and stop now. It's not even possible to recreate the depth of flavor developed by brussels sprouts roasted in a brick oven. So if you are ever in the East Village, stop by Motorino and know that I am jealous. I don't really miss pizza much, but that pizza.. it doesn't make me feel even a smidge guilty for binging on gluten and cheese.

Okay moving on, back to brussels sprouts. I don't mind them just oven-roasted with EVOO, salt and pepper. But today, I was feeling adventurous and decided to add a twist.

Orange Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

1 lb. brussels sprouts
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp + 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp honey
1 1/2 tsp fresh-squeezed orange juice
2 slices of cooked thick-cut bacon, crispy
orange zest for sprinkling (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Prepare brussels sprouts. For each brussels sprout, cut off and throw away the brown end. Then, cut each brussels sprout lengthwise into thirds. Don't worry about this being perfect. Place onto a rimmed baking sheet. 
3. Add the EVOO, salt and pepper to the brussels sprouts. Gently toss until the brussels sprouts are evenly dressed.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Then, stir the mixture around. Bake for an additional 10 minutes until they are tender and the leaves have browned.
5. Prepare the orange balsamic glaze. This can be done while your brussels sprouts are baking. In a frying pan on medium heat, add the balsamic vinegar, honey, and orange juice. Allow the mixture to cook for about 5 minutes until it looks like it is reduced to about half the amount. It does not look like much but it will be just enough for the shrunken brussels sprouts.
6. Add brussels sprouts to the glaze in the frying pan. Carefully stir together until brussels spouts are lightly coated. 
7. Turn off heat and pour into a separate bowl. Roughly chop or crumble the crispy bacon and use it to top the brussels sprouts. Add a sprinkle of orange zest if desired.
8. Serve, eat, enjoy!

I paired my brussels sprouts with a salmon fillet. I only added lemon pepper to the skin and cooked it in the same frying pan with some EVOO. I've been pan-frying my salmon lately instead of baking it in the oven, mostly because I've been dealing with skinned salmon. I find that by cooking it in the pan, I can get the skin really nice and crispy and it somehow also turns out perfectly moist every time. If I did have a skinless fillet, I would then prefer baking it in a foil packet with herbs, fresh lemon, onion slices, and cherry tomatoes. But that sounds like another recipe for another day..

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