It’s amazing what a little high heat will do to a Brussels Sprout. It turns it from horrible to heavenly in a matter of twenty minutes!*
I do enjoy injecting my blog posts with the major food traumas of my childhood. This installment is as follows: When I was a child, my mother used to boil them. I hated them, but managed to eat a few to placate her, because, of course, I wanted to get dessert afterwards. I was trying to fulfill the role of the “Good Girl That Finished Her Vegetables at Dinner”. (Priorities.) I’d pull the leaves off, douse them in salt and butter, and eat the leaves individually. (My pickniess knew no bounds.) One time, when I was approximately seven or eight, I pulled off a leaf and found a small dead bug. I did not eat Brussels Sprouts again until 2011, when a trip to Jones Woods Foundry on the Upper East Side reintroduced me this mortal food enemy of mine. I soon discovered, at the then-ripe ol’ age of twenty-seven, that a different way of cooking said sprouts could transform them in ways I never could have dreamed up!
Loading them with crispy pancetta and roasted tomatoes atop a sizzling cast iron plate sure helped, as well.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts have turned into one of my go-to dinner staples when I’m cooking this time of year. They’re quick, they’re tasty, they go with virtually any meat or grain, and I can finally use my oven at high heat without my roommates and I sweating to death.
Pancetta adds a nice salty and savory bite to counter the smoky carmalizn of the sprouts. I’ve seen many people mix in pomegranate arils to their roasted sprouts, but, a few months ago, I whipped up a batch of pomegranate molasses after trying some at Semsom. (Back story: I was participating in an hummus-making contest. Ahhh, the life of a NY Food Lover…) It’s been sitting in my fridge since I made it last August. I’m glad I finally found a use for it, because a drizzle of it on your sprouts brings them to the next level.
At least, now, if there are still little buggies hiding in my sprout leaves, I’ll never know after I roast ’em. Haaa.
* – And perhaps that statement is a bit subjective, but I’m sticking to it.
Roasted Brussels Sprout with Pancetta & Pomegranate Glaze
(Serves 2 as a side dish)
– 16 Brussels Sprouts, ends cut and halved
– 4 pieces of pancetta, cooked and crumbled
– Olive oil, enough to coat sprouts
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 4 cups pomegranate juice
– 1/2 cup sugar
– Juice of one lemon
Before We Get Started…
– There will be enough pomegranate molasses left over for other uses. (Lucky you!) After using the molasses for this recipe, place the remainder in a jar and refrigerate. Store chilled.
1.) To create pomegranate molasses, combine juices and sugar in a large pot. Cook on medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 – 60 minutes, or until the mixture has reduced by approximately half. Remove from heat. Note: Cooking for 45 minutes will produce a thinner syrup, while cooking closer to 60 minutes will produce a thicker molasses.
2.) Preheat oven to 400°F. On large baking sheet, toss Brussels Sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Place in oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until sprouts are browned and tender.
3.) While sprouts are in the oven, cook pancetta in frying pan until crisp. Place on paper towel to drain, then crumble. Set aside.
4.) In a large bowl, toss sprouts with pancetta. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses to taste. Note: The flavor of the molasses is concentrated; start with a tablespoon and add more until optimal flavor is reached.