I have a bunch of things tell you about: a delicious recipe, a giveaway, a great new cookbook, and why I love my cast iron skillet. I’ll start with the recipe. As I’ve said many times, I’m in awe of chefs that can make a vegetable into something crave-worthy. This recipe for skillet brussels sprouts does just that. The brussels are seared in a hot cast iron skillet with garlic, shallots, hickory-smoked bacon and fresh thyme – then dressed with a sweet and tangy sherry vinaigrette. The flavors meld so beautifully. It’s truly irresistible. The recipe is from the new cookbook Lodge Cast Iron Nation.
In honor of the release of their new cookbook the folks at Lodge Cast Iron are giving away a copy of the book along with a 12-inch Lodge cast iron skillet with a tempered glass lid. You’ll find an easy way to enter the giveaway at the end of this post – after the recipe.
Lodge Cast Iron Nation is about the joy of cooking great all-American recipes using cast iron cookware. Here are some of the recipes I can’t wait to try: Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes, Chile Verde Pork Stew, The Crispiest Chicken Thighs Ever, Roast Pork Loin with Maple-Bourbon-Mustard sauce, and Rhubarb Millet Crisp.
Many of the recipes in the book are contributed by well known chefs and food writers. This brussels sprout recipe is from Kelly English, chef-owner of Restaurant Iris – recently named “best restaurant” in Memphis, Tennessee by Memphis Magazine. Chef English offers these as a starter on the menu at Iris.
As long as we’re celebrating cast iron cooking, I’ll tell you about why I love my skillet. It started back when I was newly married and stocking my kitchen in my first home in Ridgefield, Connecticut. There were so many brands of pots and pans to choose from and a wide range of prices. It was very confusing! Plus I had read about the dangers of using teflon-coated pans and other non-stick pans, so I couldn’t figure out what to buy. After lots of research I discovered cast iron. It was cheap compared to many of the other choices, and 100% healthy! No synthetic coatings to worry about leeching into your food. So I purchased a Lodge 12-inch cast iron skillet and I’m still using that same pan. It’s naturally non-stick and it can be safely pre-heated to extremely high temperatures. So it’s perfect for searing and browning meat…or brussels sprouts. I love my cast iron skillet so much that it’s even become the mascot for Panning The Globe.
PS – in case your wondering, I’m not paid by Lodge – just a true fan. I’ve become friendly with the folks at Lodge Cast Iron, who have generously partnered with me on several occasions by providing great cookware for me to give away to my blog followers.
Now I’ll tell you about the giveaway. Between now and May 4 you can enter to win a copy of “Lodge Cast Iron Nation” plus a Lodge 12-inch cast iron skillet with a glass lid. I use a company called Rafflecoptor to organize my giveaways. You’ll see their form below (scroll down past the recipe). You first log in with email or Facebook. Then, all you have to do is leave a blog post comment to be entered to win. (Scroll to the bottom of the page for the comment form). The winner will be chosen at random. If you win, I’ll contact your right away to arrange delivery of your prize. That’s it! Good Luck!!
- 2 pounds brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, cut in half through the stem
- ½ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- ¼ pound of sliced bacon, cut crosswise - get hickory-smoked bacon if you can find it
- ½ cup minced shallots (2 large)
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 large cloves)
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Blanch the Brussels Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water and set it aside. Add the brussels sprouts to the pot. When it returns to a boil set the timer for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, drain sprouts and shock them in ice water to stop them from cooking so they keep their crunch and their bright green color. Drain well and set aside.
- Make the vinaigrette Whisk oil and vinegar in a small bowl until it's thick and emulsified. Set aside.
- Finish the dish Heat a large cast iron skillet (12-15") over medium heat. Cook the bacon until it starts to crisp and the fat is released, about 3 minutes. Add the sprouts and turn the heat up to high. Using your spatula - turn as many sprouts as you can cut side down. Let them sear, undisturbed for 2 minutes. Add shallots, garlic and thyme to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently for 3- 4 minutes longer, until the shallots are translucent. Remove skillet from heat and pour vinaigrette over. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve as a salad, starter, or side.
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