I know most people don’t love Brussels sprouts. Having grown up hearing my mother proclaim how much she detested them, I had actually never even tasted one until Whole Foods opened here a few years back. Shopping there one day, though, I sampled a grilled sprout and my eyes were opened. Ever since, I have made many a Brussels sprout recipe and have learned that roasting, rather than steaming, is the way to go.
Today’s recipe calls for pan roasting, which allows the sprouts to caramelize, giving them a deeper, nuttier flavor. And even if Brussels sprouts are not your thing, when paired with bacon, blue cheese, pears and pumpkin seeds, this dish really is hard to resist!
The pumpkin seeds are optional here, but I do think they add an extra delicious crunchy element. Since I don’t usually save enough seeds from carving Halloween pumpkins, I tend to buy raw seeds that are already shelled (you can use the whole seed, too, as the roasting will make them crunchy either way). With or without the seeds, this recipe will have you and your guests going back for second helpings!
Brussels Sprouts So Good, You'll Want Seconds!
- For the roasted seeds
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds I buy raw, shelled seeds at Whole Foods, but any pumpkin seeds will do
- 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- For the Brussels sprouts
- 2 slices bacon preferably preservative-free
- 4 cups Brussels sprouts about 20-25 medium sized sprouts
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 pear sliced
- 1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese crumbled
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Toss pumpkin seeds with maple syrup, butter and sea salt and spread out on a cookie sheet. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until crispy (but don't let them burn; cover with foil if necessary), tossing every 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, clean and remove outer, wilted leaves from the Brussels sprouts. Trim the bottoms and slice the Brussels sprouts in half. Set aside.
- In a cast-iron skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat. When crispy on both sides, remove to drain and cool on a paper towel. Leave the bacon fat in the pan.
- Add the Brussels sprouts to the hot pan with the bacon fat. Allow them to cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring every now and then, so that all the edges start to get crispy (don't let them overcook on the outside before the insides have a chance to finish cooking, though). Add the brown sugar, stir it in, and cook over low heat for a minute or two more. Taste one of the Brussels sprouts and make sure it is cooked through. If not, cook a minute or two more.
- Remove from the heat and add the sliced pears and cheese. Crumble and add the bacon. Mix everything well.
- Mix in the pumpkin seeds, if using, and spoon into a serving dish. If not using pumpkin seeds, sprinkle with some coarse sea salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Why not “branch out” with the Brussels sprout?