I celebrated a birthday last month and The Professor really hit it out of the park this year; we were supposed to make a trip to the East Coast but sometimes life just doesn’t cooperate like we think it should. My guy still made the entire weekend really special with tickets to the theater, a bouquet of handmade paper flowers, an overnight visit from my sister-in-law and dinner at Cerulean Restaurant in Indianapolis – somewhere we hadn’t visited before.
Our meals were excellent but it was the side order of brussels sprouts that made our eyes close and utter something along the lines of, ‘oh my gawd’ – we’re all brussels sprouts fans but these were extraordinary. So much so, that I wanted to try and make them at home; because they make their pancetta in-house, I knew that was a flavor profile I wouldn’t necessarily be able to hit so I simply relied on store-bought pancetta which was fine. The real star here is what’s called ‘gastrique’ on their menu but that’s just a fancy name for a simple maple glaze with spices and vinegar; simmer in a saucepan for about 10 minutes, toss over the roasted sprouts, sprinkle with crispy pancetta and this is a dish worthy as a main versus a side.
I find that I really enjoy pulling some of the leaves away from the sprout and roasting them along with the remaining halves; those leaves get really crispy and brown – providing a good deal of flavor
ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS W/MAPLE GLAZE
- 1 pound brussels sprouts, cleaned, ends trimmed, cut in half, some of the outer leaves pulled away
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B
- 1/2 cup sherry-wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 1 star anise
- 4 black peppercorns
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 4 ounces pancetta, cut into chunks (bacon, fried and chopped into pieces can be subbed)