Brussels Sprouts With Bacon and Figs

brussBaconfigsThis is another great recipe adapted from Mark Bittman. It’s a good introduction to Brussels sprouts. Bacon and figs would make cardboard taste good.


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 slices of bacon, chopped
1 pound Brussels sprouts
1 cup figs, chopped (dried or fresh)
1/4 cup water
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar


  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add oil, then bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to crisp, 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Cut bottoms off sprouts and discard. Slice Brussels sprouts as thinly as possible. Use a mandoline or food processor if you want.
  • Add sprouts, figs and water to skillet. Season with salt and pepper and cook until sprouts are tender, about 5 to 10 minutes, or until water evaporates. Stir occasionally.
  • Drizzle with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Serves 4.

Brussels Sprouts

brusselSproutsThe first time I had Brussels sprouts was also the first time I cooked Thanksgiving dinner. I was a couple years out of college and living in Boulder, Colo. My roommate Lisa and I hosted Thanksgiving for all of our friends who weren’t heading home for the holiday. Turned out that we had 12 friends who wanted to be fed. We lucked out in a couple of ways. One, our downstairs neighbors were out of town and lent us their oven. Two, among the 12 friends was a very talented chef, Samir.

It was Samir who made the Brussels sprouts. I’m not sure why, but I had it in my head that I did not like Brussels sprouts. Though I had never tasted them, I just didn’t think I would like them. At the time, I didn’t like any sort of cooked cabbage. To be polite, I put a couple on my plate. I was pleasantly surprised. They were delicious. They tasted like buttery, slightly nutty potatoes. I happily helped myself to seconds.

Now, Brussels sprouts are down right trendy. They are popping up everywhere. They’ve been spotted on the menus of hot restaurants and have cropped up on countless blogs.

Brussels sprouts look like cute, miniature cabbages, so it isn’t surprising that they are both from the brassica or crucifer family. Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin K (which aids in blood clotting and helps keep your bones strong) and a cup of them has about as much vitamin C as a glass of orange juice. They are also a good source of a host of other nutrients like folate, iron and calcium and have three grams of protein.

As with other crucifers, there is much buzz about the phytonutrients in Brussels sprouts and their possible role in preventing certain cancers, boosting immune functions and benefiting cardiovascular health. All good reasons to ask for seconds!