Sunday, 25 November 2012

Brussel Sprouts and Bacon: Sprouts for the Haters

I was inspired to actually write a damn blog post today by a Facebook status update I read, posted by someone that I think is hilarious and great. He made a bold statement that is absolutely partly true:  "Food bloggers irritate the piss out of me". When I indicated that his statement made me get my dukes up, because I don't think all food bloggers are irritating, he clarified that he thought our era of every supposed "foodie" in the city running around, eating out, taking photos, posting them on some website and calling themselves an expert was, well, irritating the piss out of him. Sure, I agree. But do you know what's worse? There was a horrendous video someone else posted on Facebook that showed a horde of people literally physically fighting each other to get their hands on cheap smartphones on Black Friday somewhere in Georgia or something and here's what I think:  go ahead, annoying people, post photos of that stupid panna cotta that you probably paid too much for, do your worst, just don't push a fellow human out of the way in the name of a phone. Like I guess on a scale of what's kind of annoying and what's 100% wrong, I'm with the panna cotta photo-posters. The comparison is a bit extreme, I know, and I'm sure the friend I mentioned would absolutely agree - but my point is that the overabundance of food bloggers is pretty damn harmless, in my opinion. Plus, I am one, you know? But just to be clear, I don't take pictures of food in restaurants, or ever review restaurants, because I find the first annoying and intrusive, and I don't purport to know enough to do the latter. So, there. 
Let me know if you find this photo irritating.

To the food! A wonderful thing happens to sprouts when you slice them up finely and add bacon and pine nuts. They become the kind of vegetable that people who say that they HATE brussel sprouts actually like. They are honestly DELICIOUS. It's a bit of work to slice these babies up, but it's worth it. And brussel sprouts should not be relegated to holiday dinners - they are a happy side dish with pretty much anything. 

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Pine Nuts
Originally a Lucy Waverman joint, slightly adapted

Who could even know these were sprouts?
1 pound of brussel sprouts, finely sliced
4 slices bacon, or a little hunk of pancetta, or even prosciutto
1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts
olive oil for sauteeing the sprouts
salt and pepper to taste

First, fry your bacon or other desired pig product in a big pan that'll hold all your sprouts. Once it's cooked, remove it from the pan and dice it up into little wee pieces of pig product. Drain most of the fat off, keeping a bit of fat for flavour - you'll add a tbsp or two of olive oil to the fat to fry your sprouts, once you've sliced them. I usually cut them in half, down the middle, core and all (who has time to core brussel sprouts?), and then I lay them flat and slice them into ribbons.  

Add a tablespoon more or so of olive oil to the pig fat in your pan, on medium heat. Add the shredded sprouts, and saute, stirring often, for about 10 minutes. You'll see that they'll wilt and begin to lose some of their mass, in the same manner that cabbage or sturdy greens do. Add salt and pepper to taste; but a good hit of both is necessary. After ten minutes, taste some and make sure they've cooked down enough. If they haven't, keep cooking them. Obviously. If they're as soft as you'd like them, stir in your toasted pine nuts and toss them around, and serve the whole enchilada with the bacon sprinkled over top.  

I am an impeccably clean cook.
P.s. I forgot to take a photo of the end result, so you're on your own.
I love these transformative kind of recipes, where something you thought you knew takes on a whole other quality when you do something different with it. To me, it's what makes cooking exciting, you know? You should serve these as a side dish the next time you decide to have people over for dinner, instead of going out and taking poorly lit panna cotta photos. Added bonus? You'll save yourself from irritating the piss out of my friend.     

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