A lot of people claim they do not like Brussels spouts because they are bitter; that may very well be true. Brussels sprouts do contain a compound some perceive as bitter because of genetics – much like the asparagus, cilantro, arugula, and others. Another reason some taste bitterness in Brussels sprouts is because of the preparation – they are boiled or steamed.
It turns out the bitter compounds in Brussels sprouts are broken down when cooked at a much higher heat than boiling or steaming can achieve. Roasting at temperatures above 375°F will give you that result. Roasting will also cause caramelization which creates some sweetness and helps balance any remaining bitter notes.
But really – Brussels sprouts and bacon? Not much else to say here except “More please!”
Bacon Weaved Brussels Sprouts
8 slices thick cut bacon
32 Brussels sprouts of similar size
Fresh ground black pepper
8 wooden or metal skewers (See note)
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Cook the bacon in a large cast iron skillet until it shows just a hint of browning but is still soft and pliable. Overcooking the bacon will make it impossible to weave onto the skewer. Remove the bacon from the pan and set it aside. Drain most of the bacon grease from the pan saving it for another use. A thin coating of bacon grease should remain in the pan.
Trim the brussels sprouts and remove the outermost leaves. Add the sprouts to the skillet, shake the skillet to lightly coat the sprouts, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until sprouts are beginning to brown or for about 15 to 20 minutes. You do not want to completely roast the sprouts at this time. They will be roasted further when skewered.
Assemble the skewers by threading 1 end of the bacon onto the end of a skewer. Add a sprout and weave the bacon around the sprout and back through the skewer. Add a second sprout and once again thread the bacon around and through the skewer. Repeat this until you have 4 or 5 sprouts on the skewer each time moving the bacon and the sprout down the skewer. Allow at least 1 inch of skewer to extend beyond the last sprout or end of bacon.
Arrange the skewers on a baking sheet and bake the skewers for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the bacon is fully cooked.
Note: I prefer to use wooden skewers. Wooden skewers will need to be soaked for several hours to help prevent them from burning. Covering the exposed wood with foil will also help prevent them from burning. Another reason to soak the skewers is to help with skewering the food and to help the food slide off after it is cooked.