Because we expected this upcoming weekend to be busier than usual, Chris and I decided to have our own little Valentine’s Day celebration last weekend. And because we are both semi-accomplished foodies and occasionally more practical than blindly and commercially romantic, we decided to make our own special “Valentine’s Day” menu instead of braving the crowds and the overpriced options at a restaurant on the big day. So, last weekend, we cleared a space off of our dining room table, busted out the candles, and pulled out some culinary treats and some culinary experiments.
The staple, and the tried-and-true part of our meal, was an old favorite: tender filet, coated with a Chicago steak seasoning and broiled to perfection, and a oven-baked potato. Simple, classic, and delicious. We also spiced it up with a new and unexpected recipe: Brussels sprouts! I know, who else would make these much-maligned greens as part of a romantic dinner, right? But they were fantastic! So good, in fact, that I went back for seconds. The “sauce” was rich and helped temper any possibly bitterness from the sprouts, while the tarp crispness of the apple helped cut the fat and prevented the dish from becoming overwhelmingly heavy. Meanwhile, there was just a hint of salt and smokiness from the bacon–I mean, what dish isn’t improved by a bit of bacon? All in all, a great balance of flavors. Granted, it might have as much to do with the cream and cheese and bacon as with the sprouts themselves, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that we were getting our nutrition from the little green guys. And so, I would absolutely recommend giving them a try if you’re looking for something new, a little different, and a little rich for a good veggie side. You just might surprise yourself!
- 6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 small onion, julienned
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 small Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped
- 1 recipe Basic Brussels Sprouts, recipe follows
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
- 1-ounce blue cheese, crumbled
- Pinch freshly ground nutmeg
Place the bacon into a 10-inch straight-sided saute pan and set over medium-high heat. Cook bacon until crisp and brown. Remove bacon and all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan using a slotted spoon. Decrease the heat to low. Add the onion and cook just until they turn semi-translucent, approximately 3 minutes. Add the salt and apple and continue to cook for another minute. Add the Brussels sprouts, heavy cream and mustard and cook just until the Brussels sprouts are heated through, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the bacon, blue cheese and nutmeg. Serve immediately.
Basic Brussels Sprouts
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, rinsed
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Cut off the stem end of the Brussels sprouts and remove any yellowing outer leaves. Cut each Brussels sprout in half from top to bottom. Place the Brussels sprouts, water and salt into a 3 to 4-quart saucier and cover. Place over high heat and cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Remove and serve immediately.