A few weeks ago I had a group of friends over for dinner. I think I mentioned that I was making roast chicken, but I didn’t mention anything about the side dishes. Upon arrival, one of my excellent friends casually asked what we were having. “Roast chicken, potato gratin, and brussels sprouts” was my reply. The instant the last two words passed my lips, looks of sheer horror and revulsion appeared on the faces of everyone in the room. Perhaps I’m a walking freak show, but I’ve never had a problem with our tiny cabbage-like friends. How can such a tiny, spherical nubbin of a vegetable cause otherwise normal adults to instantly revert to a group of three year olds who are horrified of putting anything green in their mouth? Admittedly, I am being a bit dramatic about the reaction, but what is the resistance many people have to eating brussels sprouts? Is there some widespread childhood trauma people have undergone that I somehow avoided? Thank goodness I am around to dish out tasty helpings of therapy. By the end of the night, all of my sprouts were gone and everyone went back for seconds.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta
1 pound Brussels sprouts
2 oz. pancetta, chopped
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper
- Trim and half brussels sprouts (quarter them if they are really large)
- Toss the sprouts with the pancetta and olive oil, salt and pepper liberally.
- Roast at 450 F for about 20 minutes, until the pancetta is cooked and the sprouts are lightly caramelized.
- If the sprouts seem dry, stir in 1/4 cup of water.