Shredded, Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

November 2, 2010

There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.
~André Gide

How and why does this unfounded fear of brussels sprouts persist among our youth? These crisp green orbs are ever welcome denizens in our kitchen, stashed in corners of the fridge awaiting dress rehearsal. Sometimes overlooked, but never forgotten. And once served, always revered.

This dish is a regional amalgam of sorts and makes for a textural plate date…a good feel in the mouth. The cool northern brussels sprouts meld well with the balmy southern hints of pancetta, pine nuts and parmigiano-reggiano. Seems a natural. Although less than empirical, haven’t some studies suggested that blue eyed, fair skinned northern europeans are often attracted to dark, swarthy mediterranean types and vice versa? Diversity bodes well in the kitchen, too.


2 lbs brussels sprouts, root ends trimmed off

2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb. pancetta, diced

1 T extra virgin olive oil
3 T unsalted butter
2 large, plump garlic cloves, peeled and minced

3/4 C chicken stock
2 T Dijon mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 C pine nuts, toasted

Fresh grated parmigiano-reggiano, for serving

Using a very sharp knife, a hand slicer, or a food processor fitted with a slicer, slice brussels sprouts into thin shreds—much like cabbage is thinly sliced for cole slaw.

Heat oil over medium heat in a heavy large skillet. Add the pancetta and cook until golden brown and crisp. Remove the pancetta and set aside on a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Wipe out pan for next step.

Melt butter and olive oil in the skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and sauté, stirring, for about 1 minute. Do not brown. Stir in broth and mustard. Add brussels sprouts and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring just occasionally with a wooden spatula, until tender yet still bright green and somewhat firm, about 4-6 minutes. During the last minute or so, add the cooked pancetta and pine nuts.

Serve with a light fresh grating of parmigiano-reggiano.

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