For a long, long, time, my opinion of Brussels sprouts was not a very nice one. I didn’t like them when I was a kid, and that stuck with me as I got older. Several years ago, I started seeing various recipes for caramelized Brussels sprouts and roasted Brussels sprouts, and they actually looked good…not like the mushy, bland things that I remembered. I decided to be a grown up and try them, and it turns out, I don’t just like Brussels sprouts, I love them! When you buy them fresh and cook them until they’re crisp tender, they are absolutely divine. Originally, I was going to do a green bean recipe for my side this week, but the other day, I saw some beautiful Brussels sprouts at the store, and thought that it was time to do my part to give them a better reputation. I have several different ways of preparing them, but for me, it is essential that they are crisp-tender, and I find that the best way to get that result is to pan sear them. Recently, I had seen a Balsamic glaze recipe that I decided to tweak a bit, and I knew that it would be fantastic with the Brussels sprouts. And for the finishing touch, I decided to add some prosciutto to them and top them with toasted pecans. I promise that these are seriously one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, slightly sweet, slightly sour, slightly salty…it’s a fantastic combination. Even if you don’t like Brussels sprouts, you should try these; my seven year old son even loved them, so I consider this recipe a huge success. Make them tonight!
PAN SEARED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH BALSAMIC GLAZE, PROSCIUTTO, AND PECANS
1-1½ pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed, dark leaves removed, and cut into quarters
4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup butter (4 Tablespoons)
¼ cup red wine
¼ cup Balsamic vinegar
Thinly sliced prosciutto
Pecans, toasted and chopped
Heat about 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and spread out to be in a single layer. Salt and pepper them, and let them sit without stirring for 4 minutes or so, you want them to brown nicely on the side that’s down in the oil. After 4 minutes, add the shallots and stir everything around a bit and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Take them out of the pan and set aside.
Wipe your skillet out, put the sugar in the pan in an even layer and heat over medium heat. Let it sit over the heat, shaking occasionally, until it starts to melt and then brown slightly. Once the liquid sugar has browned, add the butter and let it melt while stirring. After the butter melts, add the wine and vinegar and turn up the heat slightly. Let it come to a simmer, then reduce the heat a bit, and let the mixture cook for 3-4 minutes; it will reduce down a bit and get syrupy. Stir it a little while cooking so that it doesn’t burn. Take the mixture off the heat, add the Brussels sprouts and prosciutto to the pan and stir well to combine. Top with toasted pecans.
"Food is never just food. It's also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, & who we want to be." -- Molly Wizenberg