Well, after my insistence last week that I was ready and excited for spring, the weather in New York City has taken a turn toward the chilly again. I can’t say I’m too disappointed! I wanted to cook something this week that would pay homage to the last days of the winter: when it’s almost warm enough to not need a jacket when the sun is up, but the nights are still cold and have me craving food that’s rich, just a little bit decadent, and warms me up from the inside.
So with this in mind, I started searching through old blog posts for a recipe to try. I was drawn to a post from last September for multiple reasons.
Two things immediately stuck out to me: first of all, the title. Although I am not a graduate student, I do like to eat well and I don’t necessarily want to spend an entire afternoon or evening in the kitchen to do so. Also, like most graduate students, I try to eat well on a budget. The second thing that grabbed my attention was the photo; I’d recognize brussel sprout leaves anywhere!
I grew up eating a wide variety of vegetables, but I do not have many recollections of brussel sprouts. On the one hand this is a good thing, since I’m not sure there is another vegetable out there that sees kids banding together in hatred quite like the brussel sprout. If I had tried to eat them before my palette was ready, I could have done irreparable damage! But on the other hand, I think of all the potential years I lost not eating this delicious, and surprisingly versatile, tiny cabbage. Needless to say, I am perfectly happy to make up for lost time.
This particular recipe pairs the brussel sprouts with their perfect match – bacon! Bacon adds the desired decadent effect, but doesn’t require a large quantity to achieve it. This is great for eating economically since bacon also freezes well; you can get a lot of mileage out of one package of bacon. I had some leftover homemade pesto that I added into this mix right before serving. Although usually made with fresh basil, I often have a decent amount of fresh spinach on hand that will go bad before I can get to it. Pesto is the perfect way to put all the spinach to use. If I don’t have any fresh basil on hand, I’ll toast a good amount of dry basil and throw it in the food processor with the spinach to give the pesto a more classic flavor profile. It pairs well with most vegetables, brussel sprouts included!