You slaw me 

How I love ma petite chou chou, aka the Brussels sprout. At this time of year, her pretty little cabbage head stops farmers market traffic. But alas, she often is ill-treated in the kitchen and then takes all the blame for tasting yucky at the holiday table.

Give the girl a break. All she needs you to do is bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan. Everything tastes better with pork fat, after all ... even the scorned Brussels. When thinly sliced, sprouts cook quickly and easily marry with other flavors and textures. In this case, they meet up with the crunch and acidity of an apple, which also counterbalances the fat of the bacon. All together, this becomes a hot slaw of sorts, which will surprise you with its sweet-and-sour nature and Thanksgiving-plate compatibility.

Imagine, no more dreaded mini-cabbages to overcook. Plus, my prediction will come true: Everyone will become a member of the petite chou chou fan club.

Brussels Sprout Slaw

Adapted from November 2001 issue of Food & Wine magazine

Approximately 5 slices of thick bacon (applewood smoked is a personal fave)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 ounces white wine

1 pound Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced in food processor, on a mandoline or by hand

1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped

1 medium tart, crisp apple, peeled and thinly sliced

A few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked from twigs

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

• Cook bacon in a large skillet or enameled cast-iron dish on top of the stove or in a 350-degree oven, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain bacon on paper towels. Reserve bacon fat.

• On top of the stove, add butter to bacon fat on low heat and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. Add wine and watch how the bits of bacon stuck to the bottom of the pan magically lift off. Add garlic and sprouts over medium heat and cook, stirring, until softened but still holding their pretty green color, about 8 minutes.

• Add apple and thyme and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes until apples have warmed up and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

• Chop bacon into bite-sized pieces and sprinkle over slaw. Serve immediately. Makes 5 side-dish servings.

Reheat note: Tastes good the next day.

Advance prep note: You may cook bacon and slice sprouts the night before.

Culinary questions? Contact Kim O'Donnel at kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com.

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