Both sides now.

Photography by Matt Hocking

Photography by Matt Hocking

Are you sitting down? Last week I – wait for it – caramelized some Brussels sprouts.

I know, I know, just about every Brussel sprout cooked during their current years-long surge in popularity has been caramelized. But mine were really special… Actually, they weren’t. They were really average. However, during last Tuesday night’s #testkitchen I asked my social media community for ideas and they came through in spades.

I’ll certainly be enjoying Brussels sprouts for weeks cooking through all of their drool-inducing suggestions, but there were two in particular that stood out: Guanciale and pomegranate vinegar, and curried. I took a vote on Facebook, then decided they were too good not to make and tried both.

The results? They were terrible. You really should stay far away from my kitchen while I eat them all myself. You are, however, more than welcome to try them at home.

Brussels Sprouts with Guanciale and Pomegranate Vinegar

Serves 4-6

Caramelized Brussels sprouts, sweetened with honey get a tart burst from pomegranate vinegar grounded by earthy walnuts.


  • 1/4 lb Guanciale*
  • 1/2 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved, about 2 cups
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate vinegar
  • 1-2 tbs honey


  • Warm a 12″ skillet over medium heat. Add Guanciale and cook until fat is rendered and meat is crisp, about 5-6 minutes. Remove Guanciale with a slotted spoon. Pour off all but 2 tbs fat.
  • Return pan to heat. Add Brussels sprouts  cut side down and cook until deep, golden brown and crisp tender.
  • Turn sprouts and return Guanciale to pan along with walnuts, garlic. Stir together and cook 1 minute longer.
  • Stir together vinegar and 1 tbs honey. Deglaze pan with mixture. Season to taste with salt, pepper and additional honey if needed.

*Guanciale is Italian salt pork. You can substitute salt pork, bacon or pancetta.

Curried Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Serves 4-6

This mild, homemade curry blend brings out the rich caramelized flavors in butter-browned Brussels sprouts.


  • 4 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs mustard seed
  • 1 tsp coriander seed
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seed
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups of halved Brussels sprouts, any yellow leaves removed
  • Sherry vinegar


  • Melt butter in a 12” skillet over medium heat. Cook until milk solids turn light brown.
    Add spices with a pinch of Cayenne to taste and cook until mustard seeds begin to pop.
  • Add Brussels sprouts, toss with spices and turn cut side down. Cook for 5-6 minutes until caramelized and crisp tender.
  • Season to taste with salt pepper and a splash of Sherry vinegar.

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