My Essential Thanksgiving Dish: Kauffman and Brussels Sprouts

Categories: Holiday Meals
Today I'm launching SFoodie's series that asks people in the food world about the dish they just can't celebrate Thanksgiving without.

It had to have been more than a decade ago, back when my household threw epic, 25-guest Thanksgivings that turned out to be more effort than they were worth. One of my roommates decided to make the "Brussels Sprouts Leaves With Bacon" recipe from Chez Panisse Vegetables, which requires you to separate the outer leaves from each sprout and then shred the core. On the eve of the holiday, we worked late into the night prepping two swollen bags of Brussels sprouts. Once they were shredded, David pulled a heavy packet out of the fridge. "I didn't know how much prosciutto to buy, so I just got a pound."

I looked at the recipe. "Prosciutto? It calls for pancetta," I said ― $25 a pound versus $5 or $6. He shrugged.

Thumbnail image for Brussels_Sprouts_Shredded.jpg
Lauren Fan/Flickr
This is sort of what the Brussels sprouts look like.
Those Brussels sprouts ― sauteed with onions, white wine and a pound of julienned prosciutto ― were the hit of the dinner. I scooped up thirds, and spent the next day making trips to the fridge to steal forkfuls. Next year, David made the recipe the proper way, and it wasn't half as good. So the exorbitant version of the recipe returned to our annual Thanksgiving dinner table.

It's been seven years since that household broke up, but I still make those Brussels sprouts every year. A while back, I learned that I don't need as much prosciutto to achieve the same effect, so it's nowhere near as expensive. This year I'm spending Thanksgiving with a flock of vegetarians ― no big sacrifice, since turkey is my least favorite part of the meal ― but I've already warned them all I'm making my Brussels sprouts with prosciutto. If I end up seated in front of a giant bowl, all for me, so much the better.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodieFollow me at @JonKauffman.Thanksgiving photo banner: docman/Flickr.
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