Brussels Sprout with Pancetta

This Thanksgiving will mark the first holiday that the “adults” in my family (I’m not quite ready to include myself in this grouping yet) have asked me to contribute a dish to our dinner spread. And when I say asked me to, I mean I begged them to give me a shot and they finally agreed.

I am in charge of a green vegetable side dish. Score!

This got me thinking about my options and I came to one conclusion. I have not spent enough time emphasizing my side dishes. Sure, I have made a lot of great main courses and appetizers, but I have seriously neglected the side dishes. So when I made shrimp scampi, I decided to find a delicious green side dish to go with it. Man oh man was that a good decision.

I hated brussels sprouts when I was young. I’m sure it had something to do with the fact that they smelled funny when steamed. Or maybe it was just that my brother Josh liked them and I wanted to be different. That is neither here nor there.

But, lately I have really started to appreciate the brussels sprout. I picked this particular recipe as a starting point because as my friend Blake says, bacon makes everything better.

Pancetta is just fancy bacon so I figured it couldn’t bad. It totally did not suck.

I think finishing the sprouts in the oven was the trick because it gave them this great caramelized flavor. They were so good that there was not even a trace of a sprout morsel left when Josh was done with them.

Oh, and I did it again.

Maybe on my third try I’ll be able to put a pan in the oven and not burn my hand on it when it is hanging out on the stove top. Only time will tell.

Love and Beer Floats

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup diced pancetta
1 pound peeled Brussels sprouts, quartered
1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add the oil. Add pancetta and cook until slightly crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the Brussels sprouts and toss with the oil and pancetta to coat evenly. Add the thyme and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake in the oven until nicely caramelized, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.