It took me 20 years, but I finally fell in love with brussels sprouts. I remember the brussels sprouts dish that changed my brussels sprouts life forever. At Crispo, an Italian restaurant in the West Village, my dad (a life-long brussels sprouts devotee) ordered "Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Maple & Almond." Now that would have been good enough as described but this restaurant specializes in prosciutto and they do it right with big, fat, smoked piggy legs hanging on the walls. After the little cabbage balls caramelize in a bit of maple syrup and are sprinkled with toasted almonds, it's dumped in a craft, covered in thin strips of mouth watering prosciutto, and baked until salty, hammy, pig fat steams and drips down on the brussels sprouts. yum.
This dish epitomizes the universal rule that bacon flavored vegetables are awesome. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. But in general, how do you make guaranteed delicious roasted veggies? Add bacon. Brussels Sprouts tossed in the fat from frying bacon and roasted for around half an hour at 400 are just delightful. Same goes for asparagus, green beans or broccoli.
I made this side dish a meal as a frittata. Eggs, cream, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese, and bacon fat sauteed brussels sprouts. I use a fantastic mini cast iron fry pan when I make frittatas, which is becoming more and more often. I can lightly scramble everything, smother it in cheese, and stick the whole pan right in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes. Nom nom nom noms.