There is something amusing to me when it comes to my picky eating and making new discoveries. Every once in a while, I try to conquer my food pickiness by trying those foods that I hated growing up. For the most part, I’ve discovered that it’s pretty true what they say. It’s all about how something is cooked. I may have not cared for it prepared one way, but make it a different way and I’m gobbling it up.
One of those foods is Brussels sprouts. I love cabbage and always have. My fondest memories of cabbage would be boiled and smothered in butter on St. Patty’s day. But getting me to eat baby cabbages? Nope. Not happening. I honestly don’t remember how my mother prepared it when I was a kid because I fought it tooth and nail. After a while, I would eat them but I was so picky around the root of the sprout that I had to cut them all off.
Fast-forward to today! One of my favorite methods of cooking vegetables for a side is roasting them. I discovered that I absolutely love roasted Brussels sprouts but only if I cut off the ends. This makes a big mess because all of the outer leaves fall off and they either get burnt or just south of too crispy. I decided that I wanted to come up with a different way to prepare them.
It all started with blanching. I love to read about blanching foods. I honestly find it utterly fascinating and it changed the way I cook potatoes for everything. If you don’t know what blanching is, I highly recommend searching on Google for some how-to guides! I started looking and decided that blanching a sprout might provide a different yet interesting cooking opportunity. Something faster than 40 minutes in an oven. And then came the pairing of bacon.
The bright color of the sprouts mixed with the dark crisp of bacon makes for a beautiful dish. The searing in a pan makes a gorgeous caramelized color on the sprouts and you’re able to reuse the bacon fat. The dish is honestly one of the best sides I’ve made in a long time. It’s smoky and salty and very tender. It went above and beyond my hopes of breaking out of my fear and dislike of Brussels sprouts. And who knows! Maybe the lure of bacon will encourage the little ones to give it a try!