You gotta love the chemistry of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in just about any film they make (although Joe Versus the Volcano was kinda lame). While watching You’ve Got Mail this weekend I found I really liked the quick wit and banter between the two of them (the script was written by Nora Ephron, need I say more?). Sometimes it is just the way they say a line as in the “Happy Thanksgiving Back” scene where Kathleen (Meg’s character) is in the “cash only line” in the supermarket – makes me smile – here’s the clip:
I’m confident that Kathleen was buying Brussels sprouts in that scene for Thanksgiving Dinner – maybe because I was flipping through my recipes and landed on Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts at that precise moment in the movie…at the cash register. Was this serendipity? I’m sensing a strong compulsion towards bringing this dish to Thanksgiving (Meg would approve, I am sure.) While not everyone is a fan of the maligned Brussels sprout, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the complex full-bodied flavors of the pancetta (salty) and the balsamic vinegar (woody, sweet and sour tendencies), that both complement the nuttiness of the roasted sprouts.
Ingredients:40 Brussels spouts, cut in half 3″ thick slice of pancetta – cut into cubes 2 to 3 Tbl balsamic vinegar (I used Blackberry Ginger – see Method below) Olive Oil Pinch of salt 3 oz toasted pine nuts (optional)
- Wash sprouts, tear off discolored or dead outer leaves, and cut in half.
- Add olive oil to a frying pan and toss in the cubed pancetta – fry till crisp. Remove and drain on paper towel.
- More olive oil to the pan and saute the Brussels sprouts – add pinch of salt – add in the cooked pancetta – toss for a few minutes so everything blends together.
- Line a pan with foil and spread out the Brussel sprouts – drizzle the balsamic vinegar over them and toss till they are coated.
- I would normally use a regular balsamic vinegar, but since I had a bottle of Blackberry Ginger balsamic vinegar that I got last year at Ojai Olive Oil……
- I decided to use that. It brought out a special tang different from unflavored balsamic vinegar – I really liked it, and will likely use it again. But regular balsamic vinegar works just fine.
- Roast the Brussels sprouts for about 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven – don’t overcook or the sprouts will be mushy. Transfer to serving bowl, and add toasted pine nuts if desired.
Yield: Serves 6-8 people
My sister Judy asked that I bring our traditional Broccoli Supreme dish to Thanksgiving but I am inclined to do a drop-by with a sampling of Brussels sprouts in hopes I can change her mind!
How do you weigh in on Brussels sprouts? For or against them?
POINT OF INTEREST: In the US, we produce approximately 32,000 tons of Brussels sprouts each year (mostly in California and Washington), which is the equivalent weight of approximately 5,332 African Bull Elephants (average weight being 6 tons). Sounds to me like someone out there is eating them!