The key to get the perfect pan seared brussels sprouts for the holiday table is to simmer for a few minutes before searing. Once the sprouts are in the skillet with the salty pancetta, give them a few minutes to caramelize before stirring and you will end up with the perfect Easter side dish.Jump to Recipe-Skip The Small Talk
Brussels Sprouts get a bad wrap. I see why. I've seen them served up so mushy and yucky, it's no wonder. I hated them as a kid. Now that I'm a grown up (or pretend to be), I have learned the tricks to made unpopular foods, drool-worthy and irresistible. Sprouts are meant to be tender and meaty on the inside and crispy on the outside - pan seared brussels sprouts!
Pancetta helps, it's not magic, it's basically bacon. That's my secret. As a matter of fact, you could use bacon here, but I'd remove some of the grease if you do. The pancetta cooks up quicker and is less messy.
Related: Orange Glazed Easter Ham
How To Get Brussels Sprouts Tender
To get the sprouts tender, I quickly simmer them in a little water for about 4-5 minutes. While they're softening up, I crisp up the pancetta in a little (okay, more than a little) butter.
Steps to Perfect Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts
While the brussels sprouts are simmering, crisp the pancetta in a large skillet.
Once the pancetta is crispy, which only takes a few minutes, I use a slotted spoon and move it to a plate. I not only strain the sprouts but I take the extra minute it takes to dry them off with a paper towel. Two reasons for this: if you add wet watery sprouts to a hot pan with butter, it's going to splatter and smoke and it just isn't fun and also, you want those sprouts to caramelize and get beautifully browned and that isn't going to happen if they're wet.
You'll want to place the sprouts cut side down in the pan and then leave them alone. That's right, don't touch them. Let the pan and the butter do the work. After 4-5 minutes or so, flip one and if it's beautifully browned, you may stir them around for another minute or two. Then sprinkle the pancetta back in and it's ready to serve. Perfect pan seared brussels sprouts!
Try not to eat too many straight from the pan, you'll want to have enough to serve your family.
What? I don't do this.
Okay, I do. Don't judge me, they're that good!!!
Brussels Sprouts with Cripsy Pancetta
- 12 oz brussels sprouts halved
- 4 oz diced pancetta
- 1 ½ T butter
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Salt to taste
- Place halved sprouts in a sauce pan with just enough water to cover. Put over high heat until it comes to a boil, then reduce heat to a medium/ low to simmer for about 4-5 minutes, just until tender.
- Strain sprouts. Pat dry with towel or paper towel. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium/high heat. Add in pancetta. Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, just until pancetta is crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove pancetta from pan and place on a plate.
- Keeping pan over medium/high heat, add the sprouts, cut side down to pan. Do not stir right away. Allow them to caramelize, should take about 3-5 minutes or so. Once they have browned and caramelized, season with black pepper and salt (if desired)give them a stir and cook 2 minutes more.
- Stir the crispy pancetta back in with the sprouts and serve.
- If desired, drizzle with a balsamic glaze or maple syrup before serving.
Love Pancetta? Not sure about Pancetta? Check out these other recipes featuring PANCETTA: