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Brussels Sprouts with Juniper and Pancetta

Serves: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound medium Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • ¼ cup diced pancetta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon finely ground juniper berries
  • 1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 small pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Procedures:

This recipe will convince your hardest critics of the delicious and marvelous versatility of this misunderstood vegetable. Best cooked by steaming, roasting or boiling and seasoned with spices and dressings, these vegetables make a fabulous base for stews, casseroles, salads and sides. Juniper has a piney taste reminiscent of rosemary. It is quite strong so use it sparingly.

To prepare Brussels sprouts: Place a large pot of salted water on the stove over a medium-high heat and bring to a boil. When boiling, add the Brussels sprouts and cook until crisp but tender, about 2 minutes. Using a colander, drain and pat dry the Brussels sprouts with a paper towel to remove any excess liquid.

To cook Brussels sprouts: Place a large nonstick skillet on the stove over a medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the pancetta and cook until crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta to a small bowl. Set aside.

Add the Brussels sprouts, cut side down and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are browned and tender, about 8 minutes.

Lower the heat to low, and using a wooden spoon, stir in the garlic, sherry vinegar, juniper, thyme, lemon zest, red pepper flakes and reserved pancetta and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

To serve: Transfer the Brussels sprouts onto a platter or bowl and serve immediately.

Tested and perfected in the Sur la Table kitchen

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