The scent of pine and cinnamon floats about the room, I am reading A Christmas Carol by tree-light, presents are wrapped, and the old familiar feeling of Christmas hangs in the air.
It’s nearly Christmas and as I do every year, I find myself wondering what has happened to the many foregone hours, days, and weeks of December.
The family will soon be arriving, and the living room covered in shiny paper and curly ribbons, but there are still a few opportunities to work some kitchen magic.
Pears are to December what apples are to October, and it is time to take advantage of their sweet, juicy flesh. I love eating pears on their own, but there is something special about the combination of their understated sweetness paired with rich, savory flavors.
This salad begins in the best way imaginable - with bacon. Several rashers of thick, applewood bacon are cooked until crisp and then set aside, leaving a frying pan full of flavorful fat. This is how brussel sprouts are meant to be cooked.
The bacon fat will help our sprouts get brown and crispy. What do you mean this is not really a salad? It’s green and it has a dressing - it’s a salad. Stop complaining, you know you love it.
Once the sprouts are cooked through, the sweet, tangy, balsamic and honey dressing is added along with the sliced pears, bacon, and walnuts.
Just before serving, a heavy dose of grated parmesan is sprinkled.
Kale and beets can wait for January. This is the only salad I am interested in at the moment.
Take a few moments to read, write, or take a cozy, winter nap before the guests start arriving, and the cousins start quarreling. Merry Christmas.
Pear, Bacon, and Brussel Sprouts Salad
- 3 rashers applewood-smoked bacon, diced
- 8 ounces brussel sprouts
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 3 medium pears, cored and sliced thickly
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
- 1/4 cup parmesan
Place bacon in a large frying pan and fry over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the bacon is crisp. Remove from heat and use a slotted spoon to collect the bacon. Place on a paper towel and set aside.
Prepare the brussel sprouts by slicing the ends off each sprout with a paring knife. Peel away the outer leaves, and halve each sprout.
Place the brussel sprouts in the frying pan, along with the bacon grease and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook, over medium heat until the sprouts are deep brown and crisp on the edges and the centers are tender when pierced with a butter knife.
While the sprouts are cooking, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, honey balsamic vinegar, salt, and mustard. Whisk to combine.
Pour the dressing over the cooked brussel sprouts and add pears. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
Toss in cooked bacon, walnuts, and parmesan. Serve immediately. Enjoy!