Friday, November 14, 2008

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pancetta and Cranberries for (The Newly Launched) Tyler Florence Fridays

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!


  1. Your cat hypnotizes me everytime I see his beautiful photo.

    Now, what was I thinking about commenting on....

    Oh yeah, I love brussels sprouts but I had a lot of bad, sulphurous, gnarly brussels sprouts when I was a kid because my folks just boiled them up. But if you cut them in half and steam them or separate them into leaves as you did with Tyler's able assistance, they stay sweet and tasty. I may have to do something sprouty today with the prehistoric stalks of sprouts I still have in my November garden (before the rabbits find them!)

  2. This recipe has so many of my favourite flavours. Balsamic vinegar, garlic, pancetta... and a surprise ingredient - the dried cranberries.
    It is true that brussels sprouts can be tricky, you did a great job with this recipe - and have inspired me to give it a try!

  3. I love brussel sprouts and make them with pancetta (hot) on Thanksgiving. This salad, however, sounds deeee-lish and I will need to make it. In fact, what a great way to use up leftover turkey. I don't think Tyler would mind the addition. I've just started playing with his cookbooks and have made his chicken pot pie and pot roast. I'm a cat person--currently have 2 furbabies, Molly Bloom and PittyPat (okay, so I used to teach literature). Your baby is just beautiful!!!

  4. We love Brussels sprouts in our house, so I can tell you this recipe would be kid friendly! And cranberries are just so sweet, they certainly add a lot to the finished product. Great choice, and I'm so glad we are doing this together!!

  5. So glad that your brussels sprouts turned out way better than mine! :)

  6. Yay! I'm so glad you guys decided to do this - once things are fully settled here (ie. no guests) then I am definitely going to join you! I love Brussels sprouts but haven't seen them over here yet - do they ever show up at the markets? I guess it might not get cool enough here?

  7. DEB-
    i USED TO LIVE IN Kailua.....
    loved it on Oahu.
    Miss it.
    I lived in Aikahi Park.

  8. I love the photo of your cat and Tyler...I think it's love! I agonized for a minute in Costco today over a package of brussel sprouts. My husband and kids hate them even though I love them. I think they may be able to stomach it 1. if there is pancetta in it, and 2. if I separate the leaves like you and Tyler do so it's not a big hunk of brussel sprout in their mouths. Thanks for the recipe!

  9. Your sizzling pancetta is the most gorgeous thing! All the flavours in with the sprouts sounds fantastic.

  10. Rachel--Max thanks you! I think I like them much better separated for some reason!

    Natashya--garlic and pancetta can do a lot of any ingredient!

    Arlene--I think turkey would be a great addition. (turkey sausage too!) If you are cooking Tyler come join us on a Friday! PS. Max thanks you!

    Megan--good to know on the kid thing! I am glad we are doing this too! Lots of fun!

    Gloria--I know next week will be better for you. This is a good one I think--i got lucky since we can't like them all!

    Michelle--yippee! come aboard! These are California Brussels sprouts according to Whole Foods :-( I don't think I have seen them at the market here yet.

    Queen B--I wish! I know where you mean--Global Village and the owner's name is Deb/Debbie. When I go in there and hear the name being called I have to remember that. I am in Hawaii Kai.

    Joie de Vivre--I would try it--It is lighter separated and the flavoring so good they might really like it!

    Foodycat--much like sizzling bacon, sizzling pancetta is a thing of beauty! ;-)

  11. everything you've been cooking over the past couple of days looks so good, I'm trying to catch up on everyone's posts :)

  12. I don't know which is more tempting, the brussel sprouts recipe or the idea of joining TFF. I have three of his cookbooks and recently discovered his newer softcover series of cookbooks.

  13. I love Brussels sprouts and usually braise them with garlic and lots of pepper. Your recipe with pancetta and cranberries sounds wonderful. I'll certainly give it a try.

  14. Kat--thanks! hope you were relaxing!

    Matt--Hope you join us! Its lots of fun.

    KC--I hope you enjoy it!

  15. This looks so delicious, perfect green for winter! Miss you...p.s., i'm heading over to work with Kaypee Soh, with Somace design. Come visit :-)

  16. I love Brussels Sprouts but I’ve never really had them “raw” until now. I love your recipe but I also want to share mine with you – my recipe is so simple but SOOO good!!!


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