Thanksgiving Table — Brown Butter and Bacon Brussel Sprouts with Fried Sage

Thanksgiving Table

by Dara Schwartz on November 21, 2011

brown butter

Sassy Sides Take Center Stage
I’m a Thanksgiving traditionalist at heart. I admit, I get a little snobby about the Thanksgiving spread. If it doesn’t include Momma Schwartz’s stuffing of toasted, sliced bread loaves soaked in beef consomme, or the roasted turkey set early morning that was marinating for 24-hours in my father’s secret brine, you may be at risk of receiving some sassy attitude from my end. My plating rules are simple. The outer layer of the mashed potato circle must ooze into the stuffing, which overlaps the even ratio of white and dark carved slices of turkey meat, set up for the perfect gravy canal. These are the very flavors that have been branded on my palate as “Thanksgiving.”

As I honor my family tradition and the traditional ingredients that come with it, I’ve turned to sides to take the table. With a little pizzazz, you can take those very Thanksgiving ingredients we’ve come to love to a whole new level. I invite you to share the following recipes at your Thanksgiving table. This year, consider your sides and create new traditions with traditional ingredients. Just don’t mess with the bird or stuffing.

Keep those taste buds dancing,

Brown Butter and Bacon Brussel Sprouts with Fried Sage Leaves
Serves 5

1 pound of brussel sprouts
1/4 cup pine nuts
4 tablespoons of butter (1/2 stick)
Olive oil for frying
10 sage leaves
Kosher salt
3 slices of bacon cut into matchsticks
1/2 onion chopped
1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan (add more if you like)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Prepare an ice bath. In a stockpot, bring salted water to a boil. Blanch brussel sprouts for about 3-5 minutes until tender and transfer with a slotted/straining spoon to ice bath. Strain brussel sprouts in a colander. Once drained, half brussel sprouts lengthwise. Leave the small sprouts whole.

2. In a dry skillet, toast pine nuts until fragrant. Set pine nuts aside and wipe pan clean with towel (this can be done while you are waiting for your water to boil.)

3. Using same skillet, heat butter over medium heat to create brown butter. Occasionally swirl the pan and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Be careful to not burn the butter. Remove the butter from the pan and pour into a bowl to cool. Whisk together sherry vinegar and brown butter.

4. Return skillet to heat and cook bacon, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add chopped onions and cook until onions are soft.

5. While bacon is cooking, heat about 3/4 inch of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat until the oil reaches 300˚. Fry the sage leaves until crisp, about 3-5 seconds, then transfer to a paper towel. Immediately sprinkle with kosher salt.

6. Add halved brussel sprouts to skillet with bacon and onions, cut side down, and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Salt to taste. Pour brown butter mixture over sprouts. Add toasted pine nuts and lemon juice over mixture. Toss in pan and remove from heat to plate. Sprinkle grated parmesan over sprouts.

Sharpen Those Skills: When you are browning butter, cut the butter in slices for even melting.

Veggie Friendly: Eliminate the bacon and replace the bacon fat with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil or butter.

Chef’s Playlist: Joshua Bell & Edgar Meyer, Short Trip Home

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