Before it was a Los Angeles hotspot, Gjelina was a casual neighborhood joint in Venice, serving up creative, vegetable-intensive food to live on – like this smoky, sweet brussels sprouts dish with bacon, dates and a splash of vinegar. From the Gjelina cookbook.
- 3 ounces (85 g) bacon (2-3 thick-cut slices), cut into 1/4-inch wide matchsticks
- 1 pound (500 g) brussels sprouts, cut ends trimmed and halved through the stem end (or quartered if they are very large)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup (40 g) soft dates, pitted and roughly chopped
- 1 cup chicken stock or water
- 4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- Heat a large cast-iron frying pan over medium-high heat, and cook the bacon until it has rendered most of its fat but is still juicy, about 5 minutes.
- Remove bacon to a dish, leaving the fat, and add brussels sprouts to the pan, turning as many sprouts cut-side down as possible. Resist the urge to shake the pan or turn the sprouts, and let them sear until well-charred and beginning to blacken, about 4-6 minutes.
- Flip the sprout halves and season with salt and pepper. Add the dates and bacon to the pan and stir well. Add the stock (or water) to the pan, a little at a time, using a spoon to smash the dates into the sauce. Once the dates are incorporated into the sauce, add the vinegar.
- Cook another minute or two until the sauce is thick enough to coat the brussels sprouts, without being reduced too much (add a little more water if you need to loosen it up). The sprouts should be bright green and somewhat firm inside, but tender to the bite. Check seasoning; the sprouts should be well salted and peppered.
- Transfer to a serving platter. Serve warm.
Serves 4 as a side dish.
- Balsamic vinegar is also nice if you don’t have red wine vinegar.
- The book has a mismatched measurement for the dates (1/4 cup vs 85 grams, which is more like 1/2 cup). The lower amount seems sufficiently sweet here, but as with any recipe feel free to adjust to taste.
Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.