Brussels sprouts are a readily available and nutritious vegetable that can still be found in the fall and winter months. They can yield great flavor and are easy to make. Animal fats and proper seasoning with salt can make them a great side dish to enjoy. We blanch them in well-salted water, cut into quarters or halves, and sauté with lard. They get crispy and delicious. They are great with simply salt and pepper, with bacon bits, or a garlic thyme mustard vinaigrette that we’ve prepared below!
This side dish is easy to make and ready in just a few minutes. To prep, trim the tough ends of the sprouts with a paring knife and peel away any damaged leaves. Keep them whole, and blanch them in boiling salted water for a few minutes. Remove from the boiling water and immediately shock them by transferring to a bowl of ice water. Adding salt to the boiling water helps fix their bright green color, and a few minutes of boiling makes them slightly tender. They will still retain some crunch and will be crispy after sauteing. This step can be done a day or two in advance. You will want to let the Brussels sprouts dry out as much as possible before pan frying them. Leave them on paper towels or a dish towel to soak up excess moisture. Leave them whole until you are ready to sauté.
To prep: Mix all ingredients for the vinaigrette in a small bowl and set aside.
After drying out the sprouts, slice them in halves. You can also quarter them if you’d like smaller pieces.
Get your sauce pan or cast iron skillet hot and ready with a spoonful of lard, tallow, or duck fat. Make sure the oil and pan are hot before adding the sprouts. We love lard because of its bland flavor and its ability to get rip-roaring hot without burning. It has a much higher smoke point, so it’s great for frying all types of foods. Place the sprouts in the hot pan with the lard.
They will immediately start to sizzle and brown, but will keep that bright green color. Toss the sprouts in the oil, or stir a few times to make sure all sides get a nice brown sear. After a couple of minutes, when they’re good and ready, toss a few spoonfuls (to your tasting) of the vinaigrette onto the sprouts and continue to stir for about 30 seconds to one minute. They are now ready to serve! FYI: When you put acid on vegetables they will turn slightly yellow. They will taste amazing, but keep that in mind for timing. Serve as a side to any protein, or use as a crowd pleasing appetizer. Use the remaining sauce for dipping or to drizzle on the top!