I know what you’re probably thinking. Brussels sprouts in August?! Yaaaassss! I love Brussels sprouts all year long, even during the summer. I mean, I don’t love to turn on my oven when it’s hot outside, but let’s be real. My house is air conditioned (like many homes), so it’s not really like I’m sweating over the stove! Here’s the thing. I partially cook these in boiling water before I pop them in a super hot oven, so it really does reduce the amount of time they need to crisp up. And in my opinion, you can only achieve that kind of brown, crispy caramelization from roasting these in a hot oven. Period. Don’t screw with perfection, right? Right!
When I created this recipe, I wanted to do something a little different and summer-inspired. With a big bowl of sweet Cara Caras sitting on my counter, I came up with a yummy, orange-infused dressing for the sprouts that add an amazing flavor to the vegetables and create a harmonious balance of citrus, sweet (honey) and saltiness from the crispy pancetta. It’s the perfect combo of ingredients and makes a sensational side dish to everything from chicken to beef to fish. I make them mid-week in our house, but I also like to serve a big platter of these for a holiday or gathering alongside a lovely roast beef or whole roasted chicken. Be sure to keep this one in your recipe box for the upcoming fall holidays!
Orange-scented Brussels sprouts with Crispy Pancetta
- 2 12-ounce bags of Brussels sprouts
- 1 4 ounce package of diced pancetta
- 1 small-medium cara cara orange (or any orange that you have on hand)
- Olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Sea salt
- Step 1 Rinse sprouts.
- Step 2 Cut bottom stem off each sprout. Cut each sprout in half and remove outer leaves. If sprout is very small, leave it whole.
- Step 3 Place the cut sprouts in a pot and cover with cold water. Season with a bit of sea salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 3 minutes.
- Step 4 Drain in a colander.
- Step 5 In the meantime, add the diced pancetta to a cold non-stick frying pan. Turn flame to low-medium and fry until the pancetta are deep golden brown and crispy. Drain the pancetta on a paper towel lined plate, reserving one tablespoon of the pancetta cooking oil.
- Step 6 Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Step 7 In a large bowl, add zest of the orange and juice from half the orange.
- Step 8 Add 1 Tbsp. of the cooking oil and 2 Tbsp. of olive oil.
- Step 9 Add 1 Tbsp. honey.
- Step 10 Season with a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, about 5-6 turns.
- Step 11 Add in the sprouts and gently toss to coat the vegetables with the dressing.
- Step 12 Place the sprouts on a non-stick sheet pan and sprinkle with a small amount of sea salt.
- Step 13 Pop into the hot oven and roast until golden brown and crispy, about 25 minutes, turning once halfway through.
- Step 14 Before serving, sprinkle the crispy pancetta on top.
- Step 15