This recipe is inspired by British chef Nigel Slater’s book, Tender, Volume I, A Cook and His Vegetable Patch. Slater calls for blanching the whole Brussels sprouts before sauteing them in the bacon fat. Shredding the Brussels sprouts allows you to skip that step and yields a slaw-like side dish that’s great with roast beef, pork or fish. Juniper berries have an astringent quality that’s a nice counterpoint to the earthy sprouts and smoky bacon. If you don’t have them on hand, substitute a splash of gin (which is made from juniper berries) or, in a pinch, a squeeze of lemon. I like to season this dish with flaky Maldon salt, which comes from the town of Maldon, not far from where my husband’s family live in Essex.
Juniper berries aren't used often in American cooking, but they add a lovely astringent quality. You can find them in the store with other spices. If you can't find them (or just don't have them on hand), substitute a couple of teaspoons of gin.
- 1 (2-ounce) slice thick-cut smoked bacon, chopped
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced
- 20 juniper berries, lightly crushed
- Sea salt, such as Maldon salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Cook 6-8 minutes or until bacon is crisp and has rendered its fat. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon; drain on a paper towel. Increase heat to medium-high. Add Brussels spouts to drippings in pan; saute 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir in juniper berries. Season with salt and pepper.