Happy 85th Birthday, Jaques Pepin! One of my favorite chefs – for his cooking style, warm personality, and encouraging spirit. Did you know he paints, too? To celebrate this icon on his birthday, I joined the Jaques Pepin Foundation and thought I’d share one of my favorite easy peasy recipes I discovered on one of his Cooking at Home segments around Thanksgiving. The dish is perfection as he makes it, and shaving the brussel sprouts makes them easier for me to digest than the times past when I just cut in half and roast or deep fry them whole. Jaques says they’ll take just 2-3 minutes or so, but to cook a little longer “to your liking”. I prefer them that way – cooked more like 7 minutes, so they get some color, a bit softer, but still have a little crunch. I’ve made them with bacon as he does, with pancetta, which was a satisfying lunch on its own. I also prepared the vegetarian/vegan version with just olive oil, sea salt and pepper – simple and easy. To elevate that vegetarian/vegan version even more, I added some Applewood Smoked Sea Salt from Oaktown Spice Shop. Yum. This dish is a great side for any roast poultry, meat or fish. As Jaques would say…. happy cooking!
Jaques Pepin Style Shaved Brussel Sprouts
- large pan with lid
- sharp knife, mandolin or food processor
- 1/2 lb brussel sprouts (about 16 brussel sprouts) rinse, ends trimmed if brown, any damaged outer leaves
- 2 tbsp good quality olive oil more to taste
- 1/4 lb bacon (about 2-3 slices) or pancetta diced
- kosher or salt and fresh ground pepper
- Applewood Smoked Sea Salt if making vegetarian/vegan version
- 1-2 tbsp water
- Dice up bacon or pancetta, if using.
- Heat pan on stove over medium heat and add bacon or pancetta to pan and saute until it starts to brown and get crispy. Use a splatter guard or lid if needed.
- Rinse the brussel sprouts, trim ends if they are brown, remove any damaged outer leaves, and then slice them thinly into shavings. (See photo). (Alternatively, use a mandolin, or doing a large portion, food processor.)
- Add brussel sprouts to pan and stir for a minute, add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper, then add a tablespoon of water and cover. (If you are making the vegetarian version, add more salt or Applewood Smoked Salt for added umami.) Continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes, lifting the lid to stir. Add more water, and/or olive oil if they start to look dry. Continue to cook longer to your liking if desired, but not more than 10 minutes so they don't get mushy.
- Transfer to serving bowl, taste, adjust salt and pepper if needed, and enjoy.