Somehow Brussels Sprouts have gotten a bad reputation. I think it may be memories of poorly prepared sprouts that just didn’t taste (or likely smell) good. When prepared well, brussels sprouts are awesome and can be prepared in a variety of ways to suit many tastes. I personally like mine sautéed in a hot cast iron skillet in rendered down pancetta. They get that great browning and slight char while the pancetta fat helps to cut back on that harsh flavor that seems to have given them a bad name.
While you can use regular balsamic just fine for cooking these, I happened to have a bottle of fig infused vinegar that just adds that extra flavor depth and fits so well with the season that it just screamed to be used. I also added some pomegranate seeds towards the end of the cooking, they add a nice sweet element that rounds out the fat and bitter flavors from the other ingredients.
Fig Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
- 1 Lb Brussels Sprouts halved
- 1/4 Cup Pancetta
- 1/4 Cup Pomegranate Seeds
- 2 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar fig infused if you can find it
- Salt & Pepper
- In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat render the pancetta. Start with the pancetta in the pan cold so that it slowly heats up and renders off (it can sear and smoke heavily if you throw it in to a hot pan). Once the pancetta starts to crisp and you halve a good amount of rendered fat in the pan, remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate.
- Add the brussels sprouts, flat side down and cook for 4-5 minutes or until well browned. Stir the brussels sprouts and allow to brown slightly on the other sides. Add the balsamic and allow to cook for another minute or two to glaze.
- Add the pancetta and pomegranate seeds.