Brussels Sprouts. They’re What’s for Dinner!

By Charlotte Janelle

Whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, brussels sprouts have been trending as pizza toppings (check out Monte’s Fine Foods Carbonara Pie), bar snacks (pick up Pai Men Miyake’s version with fish sauce and vinaigrette), and on holiday tables everywhere (my favorite recipe below.)

Brussels sprouts, a member of the Brassicaceae family of vegetables which have been eaten in some form as far back as 1200 in Italy. They are the brassica derivative bred for their leafy buds in Belgium circa 1578 in Belgium, hence the name. These sprouts were introduced to the U.S. in the 1800s and made their way to California, where most of the American production still happens. Brussels sprouts are grown across Maine, though, and can be found at many farmers markets – many times still on their stalks -- during late fall and early winter.

As a very versatile vegetable, you can boil or grill Brussels sprouts, roast or pan fry them. You can dress them up with cheese, cured meats or dried fruits or dress them down with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.

Seek out local sprouts this season. Your taste buds will thank you.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta, Goat Cheese, and Honey Balsamic Glaze

Serves 6

Olive oil

4 ounces pancetta, diced into ¼-inch pieces

1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1 tablespoon honey

2 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar

½ cup crumbled goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On medium heat, coat a large cast iron pan with olive oil and add pancetta to the pan. Cook until the pancetta is crispy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to drain.

To the pan, add Brussels sprouts cut side down. Season with salt and pepper. When the cut sides of the sprouts have browned, transfer pan to the oven and roast them for 10-15 minutes.

Remove pan from the oven. Add honey and balsamic vinegar and stir to coat the sprouts. Sprinkle pancetta and goat cheese on top right before serving them from the pan.