I don’t know what happened to September, but here we are… in October already! The mornings are starting to get chilly in Iowa, and it was about 40 degrees outside when I went to my local farmer’s market this past weekend, armed with a large cup of coffee in hand. I had brussel sprouts in mind. I fell in love with brussels sprouts last year, when one of my last CSA box deliveries for the season brought me a small pint of these little cabbages. I didn’t know what to do with them (and frankly.. a bit terrified!). I quickly got over my fear and made these Brussel Sprouts Lardons. I was floored and pleasantly surprised by how delicious they were. They weren’t bitter at all, and I liked how tender their outer leaves become when cooked in broth, with still a bit of crispiness in the inside. I picked up a couple stalks of them at the farmer’s market the following weekend, which happened to be the last weekend of our outdoor farmer’s market. That’s when my love affair with these little gems started. This time, however, I sauteed them in high heat and added a combo of maple syrup, apple juice, and balsamic vinegar to add some sweetness and a bit of tang. This recipe was equally simple and quick to make as these Brussel Sprouts Lardons. If you haven’t tried brussel sprouts, I’d like to invite you to try either one of these recipes… try a small pint for a starter, and see if will convert you like it did with me!
Slightly Adapted from Food and Wine
1/4 cup canola oil
2 -1/4 pounds baby brussels sprouts or regular brussels sprouts that are halved lengthwise
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons and softened
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 cup Grade A pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons apple juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Heat the canola oil in a very large skillet until shimmering. Add the brussels sprouts and season with salt and pepper, then cook over high heat without stirring until they are browned, about 2 minutes. Add the unsalted butter and brown sugar and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the brown sugar is melted. Add the maple syrup and cook, stirring occasionally, until the brussels sprouts are just crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in the apple juice and balsamic vinegar.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the brussels sprouts to a bowl. Boil the cooking liquid over high heat until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the brussels sprouts and serve.
Yield: 10 servings