March 12, 2010

A Belly Full


Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pancetta and Buttered Cashews
Rustic European farmhouse soul food. That is the apt description Belly Restaurant in Eugene, Oregon gives itself. Pork shoulder confit with fried spicy prunes, braised pork cheeks with green apple risotto, house-made boudin blanc sausages with crispy French fries, duck leg confit with sweet and tangy kumquat-tangerine marmalade; is your mouth watering yet? The wine list at Belly is well edited to fit the menu. Their cocktails, such as the Sazerac, tend to fall into the classic rather than foo-fooey category.
This recipe is a replication of a salad we had at Belly that just knocked our socks off. My home version comes pretty close, with a liberty or two added. Do try it, but also do yourself a favor and visit Belly when you are in the area.

Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad with Pancetta and Buttered Cashews
12 oz. Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, sliced in thirds lengthwise
2 oz. (about one 1/4" slice) pancetta, cut into 1/4" dice
olive oil
salt and pepper

1/4 cup golden raisins

2/3 cup cashews
1/3 cup butter
2 tablespoons fig and Meyer lemon balsamic vinegar (or regular balsamic)

Turn oven to 425 degrees. Place Brussels sprouts and pancetta on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss together with your hands. (Your hands are the secret ingredient here, don’t you think?) Roast sprouts, gently stirring every 15 minutes, until deep golden brown roasty spots appear, 30-45 minutes. Remove from oven and place into mixing bowl. Add raisins.

In small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add cashews. Stir frequently, keeping a close eye not to burn butter. Heat until foamy, the cashews have deepened in color, and the milk solids in the butter have turned toasty brown. (The more gentle your heat, and the longer you take to achieve this, the more flavorful the butter will become without risk of burning. Your exercise of patience in this step will be rewarded.)

Remove buttered nuts from heat and allow to cool slightly. Stir in balsamic vinegar. Pour over Brussels sprouts in bowl and gently stir. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Serves four.

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Belly Restaurant serves this salad piled into endive spears, which is lovely. Sticks Forks Fingers is a big advocate of eating with our fingers!

5 comments:

  1. Ok, "foo-fooey" is a great word. I love your site. Pics are beautiful, and I must say I'm jealous of where you live.

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  2. oh my goodness!!! this all looks amazing! i'm sufficently jealous as well :) the brussels sprouts look amazing!!!

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  3. Pam,

    I have just nominated you for the Sunshine Award! I hope you will accept! :)

    My blog post will be up shortly!

    Gwen

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  4. I love brussel sprouts! This dish looks amazing. i love the addition of pancetta and the carmelization.

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  5. So many good flavors together in one place! Buttery cashews, sweet fig balsamic, salty pancetta~love it!

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