Made with young, mild sprouts from the estate garden, this side dish will turn even brussels sprouts skeptics into believers.
1-1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 tablespoon canola oil
½ pound thick-sliced bacon, in large dice
½ large white onion, sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon minced fresh thyme
¼ cup apple cider vinegar whisked with 2 teaspoons sugar
1 medium apple, cored and sliced about ¼ inch thick
½ cup chopped roasted and salted pistachios
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the brussels sprouts and blanch for 1-1/2 minutes. Drain in a sieve or colander. Let dry completely, patting dry with paper towels if necessary. They must be completely dry or they will not sear properly.
Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and sauté until it renders most of its fat but is not yet crisp, about 5 minutes; lower the heat if necessary to keep the bacon from burning. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a bowl. Add the onion to the skillet and sauté just until it softens slightly but does not color, about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer the onion to the bowl with the bacon. Pour off and reserve the bacon fat and wipe the skillet clean.
Return 2 tablespoons bacon fat to the skillet and set over high heat. When hot, add the brussels sprouts. Let them sear without stirring for about 3 minutes so they brown well on one side. Season with salt and pepper, then stir briefly to redistribute them and let them again sear without stirring for about 3 minutes. Lower the heat if necessary to keep them from burning and add another 1 tablespoon bacon fat if the sprouts seem dry.
Remove from the heat and stir in the thyme. Immediately add the cider-sugar mixture, bacon, onion, apple slices, and pistachios. Toss to blend. Taste for seasoning, then serve.
Chef’s Tip: You can blanch the brussels sprouts 1 day ahead. Pat dry and refrigerate in a plastic bag.