Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Brussels Sprouts

My earliest memories of autumn’s bonsai cabbage heads have always brought me dinnertime pleasure – even as over-cooked as those ruminations are. I would eat Brussels sprouts leaf by leaf munching my way to its core of tightly packed leaves that were the only part that still retained some crunch. It must have been this surprise center that intrigued me given that I was raised on canned yucky peas and carrots; tumbled perfectly smoothed questionable new potatoes; fancy cut “French” green beans. The limited exposure to seasonal, unprocessed foods gave me a particularly keen interest in those foods that did not come from a container filled not only with vegetables but a slightly viscous soaking solution.

I could never disparage one of the lone moments of freshness of my youth. In the spirit of full disclosure, I also liked lima beans, spinach and basically, any vegetable I could consume raw. So, one can be surprised by my Brussels sprout tolerance.

Brussels Hash – yields 6 servings

1/4-pound bacon
1-tablespoon olive oil
1-1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
2 garlic cloves – minced fine
5 scallions
Slice the bacon into small strips – about 1/4-inch.
1/4-teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Trim any bruised out leaves of the Brussels sprouts. Then shred the sprouts and hold in a bowl. Clean the scallions and discard the root hairs. Slice the scallions into 1/2-inch pieces, and hold with the sprouts.

Heat a 10-inch sauté pan over a medium high heat, and add the bacon and oil. Once the bacon starts to crisp add the shredded Brussels sprouts, garlic, scallions and pepper. Cook the mixture for five minutes, and season with salt if needed.

Serve warm.

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