If you've never gotten excited about brussel sprouts before, here is your chance. I love the smokiness of the bacon and the sweetness of the maple syrup to counterbalance the slight bitterness of the sprouts. The toasty hazelnuts add just the right amount of texture to the dish.
pan-roasted brussel spouts with maple + bacon
2 lbs brussel sprouts, halved and trimmed
3-4 slices of maple cured bacon, cubed
1/4 c maple syrup
3/4 c raw hazelnuts
2 T butter
salt and pepper to taste
Heat a very large saute pan to high. Add the hazelnuts and cook until toasted, shaking the pan often.
Pour the hazelnuts onto a clean tea towel or paper towels. Rub them in between the towel to remove the skins.
Place the saute pan back on high heat. Add the bacon and butter. Stirring often, cook the bacon until most of the fat has been rendered. Add the sprouts, cut-side down, and continue to cook until they start to color. Give the pan a good shake and continue to cook until the sprouts are somewhat evenly colored and have begun to slightly soften. Add the maple syrup and shake the pan vigorously.
Continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring and shaking the pan often. Pull out one of the larger sprouts to check for doneness. (This is a good place to cook ahead to and hold them for later) If it's still pretty hard, add about 1/4 cup of water to the pan to help "steam" the vegetables. Cook until they are still firm to the bite. Just before you remove them fromt he heat, add the hazelnuts and a touch more maple syrup to warm the nuts through. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.