Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Onions

This fragrant recipe, also from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters, balances the natural pairing of Brussels sprouts and bacon with fresh onion and thyme.

1 pound Brussels sprouts
2 slices of bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 sprigs of thyme
Sea salt
Lemon juice (optional)

1. Trim away any damaged outer leaves and cut stems from the Brussels sprouts. If the sprouts are very small, cut the sprouts in half; for medium-sized ones, cut into quarters. Cook the sprouts until tender in salted boiling water. Drain well.

2. Heat a heavy sauté pan over high heat and add olive oil and bacon. Cook bacon until rendered and brown, but not crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon.

3. Add onion and thyme to the fat in the pan. Cook until onion is soft, but not browned. Season with salt and a squeeze of lemon (optional).

3. Turn heat down to medium-high, add the drained sprouts and cook, tossing occasionally, until sprouts are warmed through and starting to brown. Add bacon and toss. Season to taste as needed.

Variations: For a vegetarian option, this dish is also delicious sans bacon, or tossed with chopped fresh thyme. It can also be prepared with Brussels sprout leaves: Cut stem from sprouts and separate the leaves. Thinly slice the compact centers. Do not boil leaves, instead add to onion after it has been cooked and salted. Cook for 2 minutes. Pour in a splash of chicken broth to a depth of about ¼ inch, cover and cook until leaves are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

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