This recipe is a beefed up (or porked up) version of my favorite Golden Brussels Sprouts. Halved sprouts are sauteed in bacon fat until tender and deeply caramelized. Finished with Parmesan cheese and crispy bacon, these flavorful little nuggets are served with a bright miso-mustard. The combination of the sprouts, bacon and miso-mustard is big, bold and perfect with an ice cold beer. I’ll have to say that miso is quickly becoming one of my new obsessions. Several weeks ago I prepared this Miso Butter Roasted Chicken, and I was really surprised at how tasty it was. Miso, a fermented rice, barley or soy bean paste, provides a salty depth of flavor. Not just for soup anymore, this umami powerhouse works well with meat, fish, vegetables and even dessert (see Bittman article below)! Continue reading for the recipe.
Brussels Spouts with Bacon and Miso-Mustard
For the Brussels Sprouts:
- 3 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch bits
- 20 – 24 small brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon bacon fat, plus more to toss*
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Grated Parmesan cheese
For the Miso-Mustard:
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons white miso
Cook bacon in a large frying pan or skillet over medium-low heat until golden and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve bacon fat.
Place halved brussels sprouts in a medium sized bowl and toss gently with a small drizzle of bacon fat. The halves should be glistening with (not drowning in) the bacon fat.
Warm 1 tablespoon of bacon fat in the same large frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Once the fat starts to shine a bit, swirl around the pan to coat the entire surface. Test the heat by placing one sprout cut side down in the pan. You should hear a slight sizzle. Anything more and the pan is too hot. You don’t want the sprouts to burn on the outside before their insides finish cooking. Working quickly, place the rest of the sprouts cut side down in the pan in a single layer. Do not try to overcrowd the sprouts. They can be touching; however, any sprouts that do not fit in the single layer, save for another batch or another use. Season with a pinch of kosher salt and cover.
Let the brussels sprouts cook for approximately 5 minutes. The flat bottoms should be slightly golden and the sprouts should be tender. Test for tenderness by spearing one of the sprouts with a fork. If the fork goes in and out with minimal resistance, the sprouts are cooked through. If you find your sprouts are not quite done, cover and let cook for an additional 1 – 2 minutes. I like to take a moment and move some of the darker golden brussels sprouts from the center of the pan to the outside and the barely colored sprouts from the outside in.
Once tender, uncover and turn up the heat from medium to medium-high. Cook the brussels sprouts until the flat bottoms are deeply golden and caramelized. Using a spatula, flip the sprouts so the rounded sides can get a little color. Season with additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Finish with a heavy dusting of grated Parmesan cheese.
To make the miso-mustard, combine Dijon mustard, rice wine vinegar and white miso in a small bowl. Stir or whisk until smooth.
Transfer sprouts to a large plate. Top with crispy bacon and serve with miso-mustard.
* 3 slices of bacon may not provide enough bacon fat for this entire recipe. I keep a small jar of bacon fat in my fridge for occasions like these. If you don't have extra bacon fat, you can cook up more bacon (and use extra bacon bits for something else) or use extra virgin olive oil.
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