Monday, October 15, 2012

Roast Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower with Maple Syrup, Bacon and Cayenne

We found ourselves in the interesting position yesterday afternoon of having a half serving each of cauliflower and brussels sprouts in the fridge left over from the Brussels Sprout Fried Rice with Crispy Cauliflower.  I was trying to figure out how to use those vegetables individually (I was going to make a pizza with the brussels sprouts and some bacon or speck), but I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do with the pretty yellow cauliflower.  And then I decided, why not throw them both together and roast them in a single dish.  Genius.  My initial thought was to make a riff on the Momofuku Roasted Cauliflower with Fish Sauce Vinaigrette and make a batch that included both brussels sprouts and cauliflower.  We make that recipe with both ingredients separately, why wouldn't it work with them combined?  Easy peasy.  But we didn't have mint or Rice Krispies and we had a nice piece of slab bacon in the refrigerator just begging to be used.  So I decided to roast the veggies with bacon, maple syrup and cayenne.  Alex asked if I wanted to add garlic and/or onion, but I decided that I wanted to keep it as simple as possible.  I really liked our roast veggies - but then again, I always like roast veggies (particularly roast brussels sprouts and cauliflower).  And just like always, Alex liked the veggies but wasn't as happy with them as I was.  He doesn't mind roast veggies, but unlike me he never really craves them.  I really like the combination of sweet, salty and spicy flavors in this dish.  My love for those flavor combinations shouldn't be any surprise to anyone since I have made a number of brussels sprouts dishes with bacon and various spicy sauces in the past.  It's not as spicy, exotic or audaciously flavored as the Fatty 'Cue Brussels Sprouts or the Brussels Sprouts with Kimchi Puree and Bacon, but our was tasty and a lot easier to put together. 

Recipe after the jump!

Roast Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower with Maple Syrup, Bacon and Cayenne

2 thick strips smokey bacon, cut into lardons
1/2 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and large ones halved
2 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Fry bacon in a large cast iron pan over medium heat until most of the fat is rendered (and the bacon is crispy), about 5 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon.  Add brussels sprouts and cauliflower to rendered bacon fat.  Season with s&p (don't use too much salt because you will be adding the salty bacon back in).  Saute, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5-6 minutes.  Sprinkle with cayenne to taste (we used between 1/4 and 1/2 tsp).  Toss to combine.

Roast brussels sprouts and cauliflower mixture 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, add maple syrup and bacon.  Stir to combine.  Return the pan to the oven and roast for another 10 minutes.


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