Every once in awhile in a person’s life, you find that one special restaurant. You know what I am talking about, your default place. It may not be the best food, location and/or ambience, but it keeps you coming back for that Cheers “Where everybody knows your name” feeling. You feel like you have VIP access and you want to take all of your friends there to relish in the glow. No one necessarily appreciates it as much as you, but you stay faithful and you continue to sing their praises because, for you, the experience is unlike any other. Acqua in Forest Lake is exactly this for my parents. In turn, it is for my little family while we are visiting them. It is our go-to place where, even now, we get recognized from time to time. It is a place that has a great view, great service AND great brussel sprouts.
I never liked brussel sprouts before. I feel like this is a pretty cliche/common statement, but it seemed strange for me as I was an adventurous eater growing up. Little cabbages just didn’t interest me. So diving into the brussel sprout craze a few years back created a love/hate relationship for me with those little round balls of green. I discovered that I have very little interest in straight up steamed brussel sprouts. With their leaves naturally curling back to basically welcome sauce and spice inside their walls, why would you not utilize these little flavor vehicles. Enter Acqua. The restaurant that changed my brussel sprout life. I am not sure how they cook their brussel sprouts…they may be steamed, roasted, pan fried, deep fried or a mixture of all four…no matter… with added pancetta, they are delicious and I needed to try to replicate them. SO… here I go. I used thick cut bacon because I had it on hand. A little less fancy than pancetta but still delicious.
Thanks Acqua for opening my palate to unwelcomed side dishes and for taking such great care of my parents. CHEERS!
Brussel Sprouts with Bacon
1 lb brussel sprouts
1/2 lb bacon (or pancetta)
2 cloves garlic
pepper to taste
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Blanche the brussel sprouts for 4 minutes, transferring to an ice bath right away to stop the cooking process.
Using a medium size pan, fry bacon until it just starts browning, ensuring enough fat in the pan to cook with. Add the brussel sprouts and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Stir well until they start to brown and bacon is crispy. Season with pepper to taste. Remove and serve immediately.