Monday, March 29, 2010

Better late than never...

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Brussels sprouts, a member of the Brassicaceae family, are closely related to cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and many other vegetables. Low in fat and calories, brussel sprouts are loaded with nutrients such as Vitamin A, Folic Acid, Potassium, Fiber, and Calcium. It is also believed that the phytochemical indole, found naturally in brussels sprouts, protects against cancers and heart disease.

Brussels sprouts are available from November through March at the Schenectady Green Market (Sun 10am-2pm), the Troy Farmers Market (Sat 9am-1pm) and the Saratoga Farmers Market (Sat 9am-1pm). They can be purchased both on and off the stalk. When selecting fresh brussels sprouts, look for firm and tight heads with a slight tenderness and no wilting leaves.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/8-inch slices pancetta, chopped (see note 1)
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh bread crumbs (see note 2)
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, fresh
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Note 1: bacon can be substituted or omitted for vegetarian version
Note 2: day old or older bread is best; process in food processor to make fine crumbs.

1.  Clean Brussels sprouts; strip dried outer leaves, trim stem and cut an X in the bottom of the stem.
2.  Blanch the sprouts in plenty of salted boiling water until just fork tender. Shock in ice water. Drain. Cut each sprout lengthwise into halves or thirds depending on size. Reserve.
3.  Heat oil in skillet; add pancetta and sauté until crisp. Add the garlic and sauté until just golden.
4.  Move mixture to sides of pan; add the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese and sauté until golden brown.
5.  Add the sliced Brussels sprouts and cook until tender and heated through.
6.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, drizzle with olive oil and enjoy. Serves 4

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