I grew up hating brussels sprouts! The texture of those mushy, boiled, smelly little cabbagey orbs was unendurable. Thank goodness we seldom had them. My revelation that they could be delicious happened in a restaurant in Berkeley (the name escapes me). The sprouts were shredded, sauteed in brown butter and anointed with lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste, of course. On the way out I stuck my head in the kitchen and talked to the cooks, as I am prone to do. They cheerfully gave me the above rundown.
So I had this great idea for Christmas dinner this year: brussels sprouts shredded, cooked in rendered pancetta fat and not only anointed with lemon juice but bejeweled with coarsely chopped hazelnuts. Oops, I forgot the L.J., as I was stressing over the fact that my hand made puff pastry sank into my beef pot pie (it was still delicious). Please don’t forget the L.J., the acidity will help cut the richness of your main dish. Anyway, here’s how I did it. Ingredient amounts are loosey goosey. Cook with your eyes as well as your taste buds!
Serves 4-6 as a side dish
About 1 ½ lbs brussels sprouts, stem ends sliced off
2-3 ounces pancetta, cut across into ¼” lardons (slices)
¼-ish cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped with a knife
salt and pepper to taste
fresh lemon juice
In a large saute pan over medium heat, brown your pancetta. Remove pancetta, reserving rendered fat in pan. Meanwhile If you have a food processor, using the slicing disc, drop sprouts into the feed tube, and push through (while running of course).
Cook the shredded sprouts until you are getting caramelized spots and you like the texture. You will probably have to add olive oil to the pan, as for some reason pancetta, which is unsmoked bacon, doesn’t release that much fat. This will take just a few minutes.
Add the pancetta back in along with the hazelnuts, salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze in some lemon juice, just enough for brightness. Enjoy the deliciousness.
Note: be sure to have your vent hood running to help minimize permeating your house with brussels sprout smell.