Maybe I am being a little hyperbolic, but the sweet-salty-crisp combination of bacon and maple syrup can almost induce euphoria, at least according to unscientific evidence gathered from my dinner guests. I supply detailed make-ahead instructions because you really should think about adding this to a holiday dinner menu. When I serve this at Thanksgiving, the turkey gets jealous.
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- 3 slices bacon, preferably thick cut
- 1¼ Pound Brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise if larger than a walnut
- 3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup, preferably Grade A Dark
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, turning once, until it is crisp and browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spatula, transfer it to paper towels to drain and cool. Pour the rendered bacon fat into a small bowl and set aside. (The bacon and bacon fat can be cooled, covered separately, and refrigerated for up to 1 day. Reheat the bacon fat in a microwave oven or in a skillet just until melted.)
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the sprouts and cook until they turn a brighter shade of green, about 3 minutes. Drain, rinse well under cold running water, and drain again. Pat the sprouts dry with paper towels. (The sprouts can be wrapped in dry paper towels, stored in plastic zip-tight bags, and refrigerated for up to 1 day.)
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper.
Toss the sprouts and bacon fat in a large bowl until coated. Spread the sprouts on the prepared pan. Bake the sprouts, turning them occasionally, until they begin to brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Drizzle the sprouts with the syrup and stir to coat them evenly. Return the sprouts to the oven and continue baking, stirring once or twice, until the syrup has reduced to a glaze, about 5 minutes more.
Season the sprouts with salt and pepper. Transfer them to a serving dish. Coarsely chop the bacon, sprinkle it over the sprouts, and serve.