Smith’s Brussels sprouts with bacon and dates
If you’re one of those people who still doesn’t like Brussels sprouts, I’m not even going to try and convince you. Go read another blog post about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the crusts cut off.
But if you are one of those who appreciates the much-maligned mini-cabbage – when prepared correctly – you’ll love this recipe.
We generally make Brussels sprouts the way I make most vegetables: by tossing them in olive oil, salt and pepper, then roasting at 400 or so until lightly browned and tender. This is a great way to start if you’ve never had Brussels sprouts before. Try Ina’s recipe.
Last week, however, I discovered a new way to cook sprouts. I joined some friends at Smith - a local restaurant known for gastropubby food, good deals on drinks and taxidermied decor – and while we all agonized over the menu, we easily agreed on a certain dish for the table: Brussels sprouts with bacon and dates. No-brainer.
The dish disappeared fast between five hungry mouths, and we started to ponder what was in it, besides the obvious. The consensus was something tangy like creme fraiche, but we couldn’t figure it out.
Though the ingredient list was basic, I was a little nervous about trying a restaurant-style recipe with no real measurements. I shouldn’t have worried; it was straightforward to prepare and easy to multiply by a few factors to make enough for a side dish and leftovers.
And, most importantly, it tasted just like the restaurant version.
Smith’s Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Dates
Adapted from Smith
- 1 lb Brussels sprouts
- 3-4 strips good quality bacon
- 10-12 dates, chopped
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup cream
- olive oil
Cut the ends off the sprouts and slice them in half lengthwise. Chop up the bacon strips and saute in a large frying pan over medium heat until crispy. Set aside on a paper towel but leave the bacon grease in the pan.
Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan and let it get hot. Add the sprouts, cut side down, and cook until the cut sides are a deep golden brown. You may be able to turn up the heat a bit, but make sure they are caramelizing and not burning. Also, your frying pan may not be large enough to fit all the cut sprouts – if so, just fire up another pan with some olive oil and cook them separately, then add them back into the big pan when browned.
Once the sprouts are browned and tender, add the bacon and chopped dates and toss until all is heated through.
Add the apple cider vinegar and toss, then add the cream and mix again. Let it bubble for a minute or so until the cream has reduced a bit. Taste and add a bit more vinegar or cream if needed.
Add salt and pepper to taste, toss again, and serve.