Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

PREP TIME 10 mins | COOK TIME 8 mins | TOTAL TIME 18 mins | SERVES 4


So it turns out I’ve been cooking Brussels sprouts wrong my whole life. And spelling it wrong too (it’s Brussels not brussel). I used to blanch, then chill, then sauté. I was never really thrilled with B-sprouts, but figured that was just life. Good news: Now I love them!!


Whenever food stumps me, I ask my boyfriend J. Kenji Lopez-Alt for his advice. The science of brassicas (read: sprouts and all their cabbagey brothers and sisters) is that they long for high heat. Cook them at less than 180F and you’ll get the funky perfumes familiar to anyone with any experience of cafeterias. But if you cook them at a high heat you get the nutty, caramelized deliciousness heretofore reserved for restaurants.


Adding bacon is a touch of gilding the lily, but cooking with bacon fat is another stroke of pure genius: Bacon fat has a high smoke point which means to stands up to the blistering heat of a 450F oven without burning. Talk about win-win.



Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Bacon


INGREDIENTS

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped

  • 1kg (2 pounds) Brussels sprouts

  • Salt

  • Balsamic vinegar (optional)


INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cook the bacon until crispy. Drain, reserving the bacon and the fat separately.

  2. Preheat the oven to 450F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.

  3. Trim the stem and outer leaves from each sprout. Cut each one in half lengthwise. Combine with about 3 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat and toss well to coat.

  4. Preheat the prepared pan (empty) in the oven for about 4 minutes. Carefully spread the sprouts not the hot pan in a single layer and sprinkle with salt. Roast 4 min then flip the sprouts and roast another 3 to 5 min or until tender crisp.

  5. Toss with reserved bacon. Drizzle with vinegar if you like.


TIP: Cooking sprouts at a very high temperature is the secret to making them crispy, not funky!


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