I was walking down the street around lunch time the other day and passed by a bakery/cafe– suddenly I was hit by the wonderful, buttery, unmistakable aroma of freshly-baked croissants. I had just eaten lunch so was able to resist buying one to devour right then and there, but the memory stayed with me and I was moved instead to bake something to satisfy the craving at dinner that night.
I decided to go with some soft, buttery dinner rolls– there was no time for croissants, but there were enough similarities between the overall flavor profiles (butter, yeast, golden outer crust) to make them a decent substitution. And when I found a recipe that promised to have pillowy rolls ready with zero kneading and minimal rising, I knew I had to try it. The added interest of black pepper just sealed the deal.
I’ll admit right now that I shamelessly stole the idea for this dish from a local restaurant’s seasonal sandwich, which combined sprouts, mustard, and hazelnuts in such a delicious way that I was inspired to make my own (non-vegetarian) version.
This side dish practically screams fall, and is hearty enough to use as a main dish for a light meal. The sprouts get almost sweet while roasting, while the hazelnuts add earthiness and crunch, the bacon adds salt and fat, and the mustard sauce is sharp and creamy at the same time. The flavors just blend together so well that I can’t believe I’d never heard of the combination before.
I can’t really put down quantities here, since I basically just threw things together until they looked about right. This is the kind of dish that will always be made “according to taste.” So here’s how:
1. Take a bunch of brussels sprouts and cut off the stems and outer leaves. If they’re particularly large, cut them in half.
2. Toss the sprouts in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees F for about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender with crispy brown bits.
3. In the meantime, cut up several slices of bacon and fry until crispy. Remove the bacon bits to drain, dump out most of the grease, and toss a small handful of chopped hazelnuts into the pan. Toast them in the bacon grease for a few minutes, until they start to smell nutty.
4. Mix up some sharp mustard and some mayonnaise in a small bowl in about a 1:1 ratio.
5. Toss the sprouts, bacon, hazelnuts, and mustard sauce together and serve hot.