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
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
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.