Embarrassing fact: I've been saying the word balsamic wrong for years. Yup, some made up word that resembles "balsamic" but has a few extra letters in has been rolling off my tongue since before I could cook.
"What kind of dressing are you making?" Oliver will ask.
"Balslamic," I'll say, absent-mindedly.
"What kind of dressing?" he'll ask, holding back giggles.
Now I know. Now I pause, think about it, and annunciate through the second time: "Bal-sa-mic". He erupts with laugher before going about his business.
No matter how you say it, balsamic reduction is a magical condiment. It takes only one ingredient but transforms into a syrupy drizzle that is somehow sweet and savory all at once. By simmering balsamic vinegar slowly, it's harsh astringent qualities burn off. What remains is a slightly acidic, deep colored sauce that's good on everything from fresh strawberries to brussels sprouts.
Dried cherries add a tart sweetness to this recipe that complement the flavor of the balsamic reduction, and the pecans add a rich crunch. This recipe gives brussels sprouts a whole new flavor profile. Coating each sprout in a balsamic reduction make this dish seem impressive but to be honest, balsamic reduction is pretty much the easiest condiment to make.
I know the mixture of brussels sprouts, pecans, and dried fruit is more suited for fall, but I'm jolting forward for the day because Royalty Pecan Farms is hosting it's annual Royalty Pecans Recipe Challenge. Since I'm always up for promoting real ingredients, I wanted to jump in on the fun! Here's to fresh ingredients and food that makes you feel good!
Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Pecans & Dried Cherries
1 pound brussels sprouts, halved
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup pecans, lightly toasted
Salt & Pepper
1. Whisk together the balsamic, dijon, and honey in a small sauce pan. Bring to a slow simmer on the stove.
2. While the vinegar reduces, heat the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and brussels sprouts. Stir occasionally, allowing brussels sprouts to sear on each side. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the sprouts begin to crisp and are cooked through. Remove from heat.
3. Check on the balsamic reduction: it is ready when it has reduced to about half (1/4 cup), and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Once it is ready, pour it over the cooked brussels sprouts and toss to coat. Stir in half of the cherries and pecans, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Transfer the sprouts to your serving dish, and top with remaining cherries and pecans. Serve warm.