Brussels Sprouts Lardons

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

One of my favorite salads is a Frisee aux Lardons, which is basically bitter frisee salad, lots of French bacon called "lardon," and a poached egg with a vinaigrette made from the bacon drippings. It's a warm salad and just wonderful. I had some brussels sprouts staring at me in the fridge I needed to use up, and of course some leftover boiled eggs from Easter. And, bacon. I always have bacon. Because bacon is the Meaning of Life. So, I whipped up this lardon-inspired side dish using roasted brussels sprouts, smoked bacon, boiled eggs, and a simple balsamic vinaigrette. Creamy sharp goat cheese pairs beautifully with the egg and sprouts and bacon as well. It was great!

Brussels Sprouts Lardons
1 lb brussels sprouts
2-3 (or 4!) strips thick-cut bacon, cut into large chunks
1 shallot, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil for sprouts + 1 Tbsp for vinaigrette
1 Tbsp good balsamic vinaigrette
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
goat cheese for garnish

Cut the tough stems off the brussels sprouts then cut them in half, and wash them. Set aside.

Place the bacon in a saute pan -- no need for oil as the bacon will render its own fat -- and cook the bacon on medium-high heat. Once the bacon begins to brown, add the shallot and continue cooking until shallots are softened and the bacon is nice and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Leave the remaining bacon fat and add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the sprouts all at once in one confident movement, as the water from the sprouts will react with the hot oil and the oil will pop. Don't be alarmed, you're doing it right. Season the sprouts with some salt and pepper and pan-roast until golden brown, turning occasionally. While the sprouts cook, combine the remaining tablespoon of oil and balsamic vinegar and whisk to combine. Pour the vinaigrette over the sprouts in the pan and cook for 1 minute to heat through. Turn off the heat, add the bacon and shallots back in, the basil and toss to combine. Top with the chopped egg and goat cheese and serve warm.

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