Serves: Makes 4 servings
- 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 ounces pancetta, minced
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved through the stem, then very thinly sliced lengthwise
- ½ teaspoon fennel seed, crushed in a mortar or spice grinder
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth (if canned, use equal parts broth and water)
Procedures:When sliced thin, Brussels sprouts cook quickly and retain their sweet, nutty taste. You could substitute cumin seed or caraway seed for the fennel seed, if you like, and you can use the same method to cook thinly sliced green cabbage. Serve as a side dish with pork chops or roast chicken. Every towering stalk of Brussels sprouts holds both large and small sprouts—the large ones near the top, the smaller ones toward the base. If you purchase the sprouts loose, choose the smaller ones, which tend to be sweeter. If you purchase them on the stalk, farmer Vicki Westerhoff of Genesis Growers recommends leaving them on the stalk if your refrigerator can accommodate its length.
- Put the olive oil and pancetta in a 12-inch skillet over moderate heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta renders some of its fat and begins to crisp, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute to release its fragrance. Add the Brussels sprouts and fennel seed, season with salt and pepper, and stir to coat with the seasonings. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Cover and adjust the heat to maintain a brisk simmer. Cook until the Brussels sprouts are tender but not mushy, about 10 minutes, uncovering to stir occasionally and make sure they are not in danger of scorching.
- If there is excess liquid in the skillet, uncover, raise the heat to moderately high, and cook, stirring, to evaporate the liquid. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately.