Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Culinary Smackdown: Battle Bacon

Eggplant to Go brought it back, Chickory designed its rocking' new badge, Grumpy Granny is hosting this week, and I'm playing along because, well, I love bacon. Even though I have, like, no time these days and my brain has been reduced to near mush from the stress and lack of consistent zzzzzzzs. Still, the cooking, it must get done. S.B. will suffer Big Salad, Sandwich, and Breakfast For Supper nights for only so long.

At any rate, my entry isn't all that revolutionary, but it is interesting because the main ingredient is the last lone veggie in the pantheon of veggies that I used to hamster-cheek in protest as a wee Moi that I still look upon with dread. Perhaps, this dread, it is in my genes, because one of my cousins with whom I am close (call me, you bum), also hates 'em.

Yes. Brussels Sprouts. Which to me have always looked like the stunted fetal offspring of regular cabbage and tasted like sweaty gym socks. NOT a good combo. And this is coming from someone who loves Limburger, liver, and tripe. Only not all together on the same plate. I do have standards.

Anyway. There I was in the produce section on Monday and there they were, looking all of a sudden very bright green and cheery and so I thought, well? Maybe bacon would help? And pesto (which I have a surfeit of this year for some bizarre reason—it's like I've suddenly discovered I DO have a gardening green thumb and it goes by the name of basil), definitely pesto.

See? So pretty!

Okay, so how to cook these things. According to various websites, the trick is to bake them in the oven at a high temperature until they are very well browned. Almost burnt. Which gets rid of the sweaty gym socks flavor and heightens the sugars.

So, what the hey, I gave it a shot.


Three large pieces of high quality bacon, the stuff you get from the butcher that's cut thick and marbled just perfectly, fried up until crisp.

3 T. bacon grease from frying

Twelve brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed

1/4 cup pesto

3 T. heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Fry bacon in a large skillet. Once done, remove bacon to a plate to cool and discard all but 3 T. of the grease. Add brussels sprouts to the pan and toss until well-coated with the grease. Place sprouts in an oven proof baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes or until well brown.

While sprouts are cooking, crumble bacon into small pieces and make the pesto: in a Cuisinart or other electric chopper type thingee, place two cups of lightly packed, fresh basil leaves, well washed, a 1/4 cup of pine nuts (or any other kind of nut, really—I used almonds here), one small clove garlic, two ounces of parmesan cheese, and a quarter cup of olive oil. Whiz until desired texture is reached and add salt and pepper to taste.

Add 1/4 cup of the pesto to the same skillet in which you cooked the bacon, add cream and 3/4 of the crumbled bacon slices and cook over medium heat until sauce thickens slightly.

Plate the sprouts, pour sauce on top, and add sprinkled bacon. Serve as a side dish. That night it was ribs with Texas toast.

Seriously, these didn't taste like gym socks at all! In fact, they were quite yummy. Shhhhhhhh. Don't tell my cousin.

Check out all the other entries by visiting Grump Granny's site.


Sharon Rudd said...

Yeah, Brussels sprouts! And yeah to you, Moi, for participating in the revival of the Culinary Smackdown!

Methinks roasting just about any veg can take it from a "dirty socks" place to something delectable.

I'm up with my Battle Bacon post too. Please turn a blind eye if you spot any typos. I'm whooped and it's only Tuesday night :)
Good luck with your deadlines.

GrumpyGranny said...

Wow, those look fabulous! I love the idea of adding pesto, one of my favorite substances on earth. Thanks for participating!


Anonymous said...

Looks yummy. I do a similar but simpler thing with Brussel Sprouts.
Yours is better because people who don't like Sprouts will almost certainly like yours anyway.

moi said...

Eggy: Nuh-oh, I'm off duty when I blog. No red scribbles por Moi!

Grumpy: I have made so much pesto this year, I'm eating it for breakfast on toast. Yum!

Troll: I'm all Gillian Welch when it comes to veggies. I wanna do right by eating 'em raw or lightly steamed with a dash of sea salt and olive oil, but not right now. Right now, I prefer them slathered in cream, cheese, and bacon.

LaDivaCucina said...

Well done, Moi! Very creative! I LOVE Brussels sprouts and I think the bacon combo is very Germanic, no? C'mon, you put pesto, bacon an cream on just about anything and it would taste divine...tofu even!

I have a great recipe for the bacon throwdown but I just don't know when I'll have time to make it, little sister is in town and we have restaurants to eat at and a wedding to attend....

Hope you are getting through your work load, girl! xo

Milk River Madman said...

I didn't read anything. Just wanted to say hello and let you know that life is good.