Ambitious home chefs of the world: if you are considering culinary school but aren't committed to the hours and low wages associated with working in a restaurant kitchen after school, save yourself a great deal of money and invest instead in chef, teacher and author James Peterson's latest cookbook, Cooking.
Cooking is a friendly master work ("600 recipes, 1,500 photographs, and one education") on general culinary technique. Peterson's Sauces is the definitive book on that subject; this new book encompasses a much broader range of techniques, tricks, and tips while maintaining the same spirit of encouragement and calm authority.
Because much of what he presents are foundational recipes, Cooking is a great source for simple side dishes. Narrowing down which recipe to include in our Thanksgiving roundup was my only challenge.
Perhaps because the farm-to-table movement has improved the overall quality of brussels sprouts available, their image as a least-loved vegetable has reversed in the past few years, although the question of whether they are scary or tasty was raised in Talk this week.
Although I think they are delicious with only olive oil as dressing, brussels sprouts, as a member of the cabbage family, pair beautifully with smoky meats such as bacon. They are a staple of the holiday table, and Peterson's tasty take is a quick preparation that provides a nice firm bite next to all the mashed potatoes and soft stuffing.
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts
- 1/4 pound thick-cut sliced bacon
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon wine vinegar, or to taste
Trim off any wilted leaves from the Brussels sprouts, and then trim the base. Cut each sprout in half through the stem end or cut off the base and pull away the leaves one by one. Cut the bacon slices crosswise into strips 1 inch long and about 1/4 inch wide.
In a large sauté pan or a wok, heat the bacon over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until it just begins to turn crispy. Add the brussels sprouts, turn the heat to high, and stir for about 5 minutes for halves or 2 minutes for leaves, or until the leaves wilt or the halves soften (bite into one to test). Season with salt, pepper, and vinegar.