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Pan-fried Brussels Sprout Leaves "Our Way"

Chances are you either love Brussels sprouts or you hate them. At our restaurant, they're a very popular side. We're getting them right now from Carpinteria's Tom Shepherd, that master of greens, beans, and all sorts of wonderful organic vegetables. The sprouts we're getting from Tom are the pick of the litter little tiny, tender ones. They are not what you usually find at the market. If you end up with the more ample Brussels sprouts, this is a great recipe to trim them down to size.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Brussels sprouts
  • 4 ozs bacon we use a thick, applewood smoked variety
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 tbl honey
  • 2 tbls sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbls water
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

Prepare the Brussels sprouts by cutting them in quarters, and then separating the leaves like you would a head of lettuce. Keep in mind that a big pile of tender leaves will cook up to not so much, so err on the side off preparing more, not less.

Cut the bacon in 1/4 inch squares. Cut the onion in a very fine dice. Shred the carrot finely. Depending on how cooked you like your carrot, you might want to blanch it briefly in boiling lightly salted water.

In a small bowl, mix the honey, sherry vinegar, and water. Set aside.

In a pan large enough to hold everything, cook the bacon and onion. When the onions start to get golden, add the carrots. After about 30 seconds or so, add the Brussels sprout leaves and turn up the heat. Stir carefully and the leaves wilt and start to cook. Season to taste with salt and pepper. When the leaves are almost wilted, add the honey, sherry vinegar, and water mixture, watching out for the resulting steam. Stir everything together, and remove from the heat to a serving dish. Adjust seasoning.

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