It's TFF today! That stands for Tyler Florence Fridays, a new weekly event hosted by my friends Natashya of Living in the Kitchen With Puppies and Megan of My Baking Adventures and me! Because Tyler is such a laid back chef and the three of us are that way too, we decided to create an easy going event where you get to pick a Tyler Florence recipe from one of his books, The Food Network, a magazine etc. (yes YOU get to choose what you make each week, how great is that!?!) Then you simply post about it--what you liked, any changes, etc. We round em up each Friday on the newly created TFF website. You can get all the details at the TFF site: here.
So it's the first post and what did I decide to make? Why Brussels Sprouts of course! Yeah, I know what you are thinking..."Brussels sprouts? You have 5 Tyler cookbooks and hundreds of recipes to choose from and you picked Brussels sprouts?!? Do you even like Brussels sprouts?! "Yeah, not really. I don't hate them but they always seem to be hard, slightly bitter and not a favorite vegetable for me. I periodically try them with garlic, butter, bacon, even pancetta and still, not a fan. Flipping through one of Tyler's newest books, Stirring the Pot, his recipe for Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pancetta and Cranberries caught my eye. The caption on the page states: "I think even your kids will eat this one!" (Mighty bold words Tyler!) The recipe looked easy, the pancetta called me like a siren, I have a huge bag of dried cranberries in my freezer and the idea of separating the leaves of the Brussels sprouts seemed like a great idea so my choice was made.
Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pancetta and Cranberries
Stirring the Pot, Tyler Florence
serves 4-6 / time: 30 minutes
2 lbs baby Brussels sprouts
extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces pancetta, cut into small dice (1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
3 Tbsp shallots, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pick all of the Brussels sprouts apart so you have one big pile of leaves. In a large saute pan, heat heat a 2-count of olive oil (about 2 Tbsp) over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the fat renders and the pancetta is crispy.
Add the separated Brussels sprouts leaves, cranberries, shallots, and garlic. Toss well to combine all the ingredients. Add the balsamic vinegar and chicken broth and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes, until the Brussels sprouts leaves have just wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.
Notes/Results: I made this recipe as written, but did make a smaller quantity. I was happy to find some nice-looking Brussels sprouts at Whole Foods but disappointed that they were out of pancetta in their meat case. My visions of thick, diced pancetta out the window, I had to settle for the thin-sliced packaged stuff (I guess I better add a bit extra). They recipe went together easily, the most time being spent on separating the leaves of the Brussels sprouts. Even that was easy, after slicing off the stem ends and it was somewhat therapeutic peeling off the leaves. The results: excellent! The crispy, salty pancetta combined with the sweet tang of the cranberries and the balsamic vinegar was delicious. Separating the leaves solved the issue I have with the hard, little sprouts. This would be great for a holiday dinner but easy enough for a simple weeknight side dish. Since there are no kids at my house, (only a cat who's appreciation of Brussels sprouts is limited to batting them around if one falls on the floor) I couldn't test Tyler's claim, but they passed my test. What did I serve them with? Nothing! After a late lunch, a bowl of this salad was all I needed for dinner. I will make these again.
BTW--If you don't have any/many Tyler books and are looking to start collecting, the two new softcover cookbooks; Stirring the Pot and Dinner at My Place are a great way to start. Full of Tyler's tips and great sounding recipes (I have next week's picked out already), they are also a reasonable price. Even Max thinks they are a great read! (Such a poser!)
A big mahalo (thank you) to Natashya for getting Tyler Florence Fridays off and running. She took our back and forth conversations about starting a Tyler group and whipped out a website and process in record time. I am looking forward to seeing what recipes everyone picked and hearing how they liked them. I hope you join us.
Happy TFF everyone!