Recently I posted a recipe for Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta. I have to admit I am not a big fan of brussels sprouts but my husband is, so I am always looking for ways to punch up the flavor. So here are a couple of tips I recently learned that can add even more flavor to that recipe:
1. Use a cast iron skillet: I got myself a plain old cast iron skillet for the holidays and it is amazing how evenly it cooks everything. After I boiled the brussels sprouts until they just started to become tender, I sautéed them with some garlic infused olive oil in the cast iron skillet and the brussels sprouts not only finished cooking but were also evenly browned with the edges wonderfully caramelized.
A cast iron skillet is relatively inexpensive and is one of the best sources for cooking with even heat. Just make sure you season the skillet according to the manufacturers instructions before you use it for the first time. A good seasoned cast iron pan can last for generations if you use it properly.
Also, be aware that cast iron heats up slowly. Give the skillet a little extra time to heat up. Once a cast iron pan is heated it holds the heat beautifully throughout the entire cooking process.
2. Add some shallots to boost the flavor: This time I caramelized some shallots in the skillet (two medium sized ones, sliced) and then took them out while I browned and continued to cook the brussels sprouts and pancetta (and btw, if you don’t have or can’t afford pancetta, bacon works just as well). I added them back in at the end with the sun-dried tomatoes (see next tip) so they would not overcook during the process. Worked like a charm.
3. Add some sun-dried tomatoes at the very end: I saw this in another recipe and thought I’d try it. It was fabulous and really boosted the overall flavor of the dish. I used sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained them, chopped them, added them at the very end and just let them warm through . All I can say is – delicious! The result – the best tasting brussels sprouts to date! This was actually the first time ever that I enjoyed eating brussels sprouts!