This week’s recipe comes from The Essential New York Times Cookbook (Norton) by Amanda Hesser, a labor of love for sure. Hesser solicited readers’ input on their favorite NYT recipes, then pored through the newspaper’s archives to find other winners from as far back as 1895. She tested them all and chose more than 1,000 of her favorites for inclusion in this mammoth book. (Read our review here; watch the trailer here.)
Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Pine Nuts
Like crushing ice cubes into shards, shredding Brussels sprouts alters the way you experience them. It subdues their cabbage flavor and allows you to cook them without blanching them first—a step so maddening it’s amazing people continued to eat them for so many years. Here, in Aimee Lee Ball’s recipe—published in an article on Christmas dinner—the sprouts are tossed into a food processor and a few pulses later, the shredding is complete.
The sprouts are then wilted in bacon fat and blended with fried bacon, scallions, nutmeg, and toasted pine nuts. If that combination isn’t good, then what is?
- 4 pints Brussels sprouts
- 1⁄2 pound bacon, diced
- 1⁄2 cup pine nuts
- 3 scallions, finely minced
- 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Trim and core the sprouts. Put them in a food processor (in 3 to 4 batches) and coarsely shred.
2. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until it is crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels.
3. Add the pine nuts to the fat remaining in the pan and stir over medium heat until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sprouts, scallions, and nutmeg. Cook, stirring, until the sprouts are cooked through but still crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the bacon and season generously with salt and pepper.
Serves 8 to 10
Ball instructs you to core each Brussels sprout, a step I had no interest in following. I aggressively trimmed the sprouts and cut off the stems with a small paring knife.
This dish reheats well in a sauté pan coated with a film of olive oil.
Around 2002, chefs in a couple of New York City restaurants began serving a dish of shredded raw Brussels sprouts, sprinkled with olive oil, salt, pepper, and shavings of Pecorino Romano cheese. In this case, shredding the sprouts in the food processor won’t work because you need the slices to be even—so you’ll want to use a mandoline. Dress the shreds with the olive oil, salt, and pepper, then spread a small mound of the sprouts on each plate. Finish with the shavings of cheese.
Butternut Squash Soup with Brown Butter (p. 156), Veal Shanks with Garlic Mashed Potatoes (p. 540), Red Wine Ice Cream (p. 730); also, Thanksgiving dinner
“We will be having this tonight—for about the millionth time (I skip the pine nuts).”
Mitzi Maxwell, Orlando, Fl, e-mail
“I learned the trick of cutting up and sautéing Brussels sprouts in this recipe, which is the very best way to treat them. I now use that technique when I cook them plain or with onions and lemon.”
Laura E. Perry, e-mail
December 16, 1990: “Coming Home,” by Aimee Lee Ball.
Reprinted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser. Compilation copyright (c) 2010 by The New York Times Company and Amanda Hesser. Recipes and reprinted text copyright (c) 2010 by The New York Times Company. Used with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.