A good part of my life has been spent misspelling “Brussels sprouts” and despising their taste. When I think of dreadful Brussels sprouts, what comes to mind are overly cooked, olive green vegetables with a near mushy texture. I do believe that the majority of people, myself included, who grow up hating vegetables simply had them prepared incorrectly.
A few years ago, crispy and caramelized brussels sprouts started to appear on every menu I came across. I finally gave in and ordered them, only to be pleasantly surprised. I like my Brussels sprouts to be on the tarter side and when it comes to texture, I love them to be caramelized on the outside and crunchy throughout.
The pancetta adds a nice salty element, which makes the whole dish even better, while the touch of pomegranate seeds makes the dish a little sweet. The Brussels sprouts are cooked in a sauce that’s a mix of pancetta renderings, red wine vinegar, mustard seeds and butter. It makes a simple flavoring. While I love everything about this dish, flavor-wise, my favorite part is its efficiency. No multiple pans and absolutely no fuss! I know during the holidays, pans and stove space is key so this is as easy as can be.
Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate and Pancetta
- Sunflower oil (or another clean-flavored oil like grape seed oil)
- 1/4 pound pancetta, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3/4 pound Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed and halved
- 3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
- In a medium skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the pancetta and cook for about 3-5 minutes, until slightly crispy and edges are browned. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel to drain. Set aside.
- To make the sauce, start with deglazing the pan. Decrease the heat to medium low and add the red wine vinegar; using a whisk or a wooden spoon, vigorously scrape the bottom of the pan lifting up all of those tasty bits. Pour in three tablespoons of sunflower oil, the mustard seeds and butter. Stir until the butter is melted and the sauce comes together.
- Turn the heat to moderately high heat and add the brussels sprouts, face side down; sear until browned, about 3 minutes. Salt the brussels sprouts to taste, keeping in mind the salt content of the pancetta. Note: My pancetta was very salty so I found I only needed about 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Throw the pancetta in the pan and toss. Transfer the brussels sprouts mixture to a serving dish and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.
Yield: 4 servings
Adrianna Adarme is a food blogger and author living in Los Angeles, California. She writes the blog A Cozy Kitchen, where she shares comforting, everyday recipes from her kitchen. She recently authored her first cookbook, PANCAKES: 72 Sweet and Savory Recipes for the Perfect Stack. She’s a lover of breakfast, pie (and sometimes even pie for breakfast), corgis and cute things. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.