Thanksgiving morning dawns in less than 24 hours. I hope you're ready, armed with your mother's creamed onions, heirloom pumpkin pie, and a big, juicy turkey. But just in case you're not, just in case this year your early planning slipped away a bit, I have a side dish for you.
The fishmonger created it the other night, with me too tired even to watch. It isn't often I make a plea for him to cook, but this night, I needed it. I slipped into the tub while he worked, sniffing the steam every now and again to see if I could catch of whiff of his creation.
I knew there was bacon involved, that much was clear from the start. But even between listening and calling down questions, I couldn't imagine what the rest could be. Eggs? No, too much chopping going on. It could be broccoli or carrots, or perhaps parsnips, but none of those sounded particularly good with bacon. Must be BLT's then, or maybe a bacon topped salad.
When I finally got out, well-warmed and hair dripping, I saw how far off I'd been. It was a salad of sorts, but a warm salad, Brussels sprouts and apple sauteed in bacon fat and topped with little slivers of the meat itself. He'd made a bed of greens, too, to plate the sprouts and apples over, and they melted deliciously into one emerald green dish.
It wasn't long before we'd demolished the tower. Greens, sprouts, and apples slid glibly down into our hungry bellies, bacon warming the ride. It was the perfect dish, it hit me soon after, for a Thanksgiving side, if only we would be cooking.
We won't; with eighty people celebrating in the same family, the turn doesn't often come. So instead, I'm offering it to you, as a back-up of sorts, because you never know what the holiday will bring.
WARM BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD
Fry 4 pieces bacon in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan. While they cook, wash and halve the sprouts from 2 stalks Brussels sprouts. Set aside, then core and dice 1 medium sized apple. When bacon is done, remove from pan and set aside. Saute sprouts over medium heat until they begin to soften, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add apple and bacon, cut into small pieces, and continue cooking for several more minutes, adding olive oil if needed. When sprouts and apples are tender, serve warm, over greens.