September 8, 2007 - Joanne

Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta and Walnuts
Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta & Walnuts Recipe

1 Club of Fresh Brussel Sprouts (or about 6 cups)*
1-2c of Walnuts
1/2 pound of Pancetta cut into chunks

*Note quantities are really unimportant as the cooking time is virtually the same.

I've converted a number of brussels sprouts haters at Thanksgiving... My father complains constantly (he loves brussels sprouts) that all the restaurant ones he gets are undercooked and inedible. So here's what I do...

I pull off the sprouts from the club, cut the bottom off and remove any loose or damaged leaves and then I split them in two.

Meanwhile bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Toss in the sprouts and blanche them for a few minutes; you want them to be bright green and slightly tender. Time will vary depending on the size of the sprouts but you will notice the color change.

You can also continue to cook them through at this point but instead I take them out and don't rinse them (so they still cook and soften a bit).
Right now they are fine to eat but here's the window dressing trick...

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Roast some walnuts in the oven until they start to give off oil (you should do this in advance) and color slightly. It's incredibly easy to burn walnuts once they start to color so watch them like a hawk. Also make sure that when you take the pan out of the oven that you get them off the hot pan quickly as they will continue to cook after they come out.

Now find some good quality pancetta or thick bacon (I used Fatted Calf's Pancetta). Cut it into small chunks and fry until crisp (the trick here is to use medium heat and cook it longer). Pour off almost all the bacon fat. Leave about a teaspoon in the pan and add the walnuts to warm them back up. (Alternatively you can omit the bacon fat and add a tablespoon of butter or clarified butter). Add your blanched sprouts and warm through.

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