It’s winter time in South Texas and that means cold dishes are so “out” and hot dishes are “in.” For a change, we’re actually having extended spells of cold weather which puts soups and stews high on the list of things I want to cook and eat right now. But when Engel Farms showed up at the farmers market last Sunday with the first harvest of Brussels sprouts, these little green gems now rank at the top of my list.
Even though I tend to over do it on occasion–to the extent where I can’t even look at them–I do love Brussels sprouts. Last year was an off year for me and these cruciferous bundles of joy and after a nice break, my palate is now primed and ready to dive in head first. Normally, I would cut up some sort of pork fat, such as bacon or pancetta, slice the Brussels in half and saute them to a golden perfection, but I need a new angle.
I need a new reason to appreciate these precious bundles that contain 15% of our daily required fiber intake, a host of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin K, helps with inflammation and even aids with digestion. What I want is to prepare them in a way that they are not like anything you would expect when you think of Brussels sprouts. While it’s hard to beat a caramelized sprout, shaving these baby sprouts is a most welcome change. In fact, this dish was so good, I’ll predict that I am going to eat my weight in Brussels again this year.
The best part? I think you could easily fool someone who says they don’t like Brussels sprouts by serving this dish. The lemon juice and pecorino cheese really make it unique. And just because I can, but you don’t have to, I crumbled a little bacon on top for a very welcome and added dimension of flavor.
Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pecorino Cheese
- 2-3 pieces of nitrate-free bacon optional
- 2 tablespoons evoo or bacon grease, if using plus more evoo forserving
- 1 lb. Brussels sprouts washed and trimmed
- kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil you may need to add a little oil to the bacon grease and you will want to drizzle with a tablespoon just before serving
In a large saute pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon and place on a paper towel lined plate. Leave the grease in the pan and set aside. You'll need 2 tablespoons of oil to saute the sprouts, so depending on how much grease the bacon rendered, you may need to add a bit more oil to the pan or (gasp) remove some of the excess grease.
In a food processor, place the slicing grater. Add the Brussels sprouts and let the machine do its job. In just a few seconds, the sprouts will be sliced and ready.
Then over medium-high heat, reheat the pan with the grease and when the oil is hot, add the sprouts. Stir well to combine with the grease and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
The sprouts will turn bright green as they are cooking. It will take about 3-5 minutes for them to saute. Add the lemon juice, stir well and add the cheese stirring to thoroughly combine.
Drizzle with a little more extra virgin olive oil and taste. Adjust the seasoning if needed, adding more lemon juice, salt or cheese to your liking. Grind a bit more black pepper, grate a bit more cheese, crumble with bacon, if using, and serve.