Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Grape Tomatoes and Black Olives... Every so often my parents will send me a package of "things" that I may need. If they know that I particularly love something... well, they can give loads of it, to last me quite a while. They love to give... it's their language of love. I suppose it would be easy to overlook their generosity, but I know full well they are on a limited budget. And to me, the gifts mean that much more...
So when my parents came over for a visit a couple of months ago, they asked me if I needed anything.... trying to take advantage of their limited luggage allowance. My parents happen to live in an area where international stores abound, so I thought to ask for some olives... just a package of black olives(the ones with the pits). It wouldn't take too much space, I thought. But I should have known better. They didn't just bring me a package, but quite a few packages... enough to last me through the winter, spring, and maybe summer:). But I didn't mind, I'm more than grateful for their love towards us.
Now because I had plenty of olives, I decided one day to marinate some of the olives.... in some olive oil, a bit of vinegar, dried chile flakes, and a small amount of dried onion flakes. This way I'd have some plain olives... and some flavored. While I was marinating the olives and placing them in jars, I realized that time had quickly flown by.... and I hadn't the thought of what to make for lunch that day. There really wasn't any leftovers that I could reheat. So I decided to incorporate some olives in the lunch dish for that day... I didn't see why I couldn't. But what sort of dish..... that's when I opened my fridge, took a quick inventory, grabbed a few items, and got to work. The result of my "scrambling about", trying to fix lunch, brings me to this dish I'm posting today.
I loved the dish so much, that I made it again... just so that I could post it:). Granted the first time around I made the dish, my husband liked it better... that's only because I added some bacon:). The second time I thought to go "lighter" and omitted the bacon... still delicious. So feel free to make the dish with or without the bacon. You can also opt to omit the olives if you don't have any on hand, or even omit the Parmesan cheese. And if you don't have any bell peppers on hand,... well, you can omit them too. The dish still works even though it will change somewhat, but it's a great alternative when you have limited ingredients. A great side dish that can be used next to some pan fried fish, chicken, sausages etc...
I've also turned this dish it into a simple, yet satisfying meal, just by simply adding a sunny side up egg on top. Love how the soft yolk runs down the vegetables and sort of makes a "sauce". Quite delicious I thought. The dish is also pretty quick to prepare.... and a great meal for those days you want to limit the carbs. Loved this dish for its simplicity and great flavor.... I especially like the grape tomatoes in this dish as it brightens the dish with just the right amount of tanginess.
I thought it best to post this recipe before this winter "commodity" goes out of season. Funny, how the winter vegetable that I once cared not for... has slowly creeped up to be a favorite of mine:). Hope you enjoy...
Tip: Try substituting the brussels sprouts with cauliflower... for a different take on this dish.
~Even though, I used to throw away the outer leaves of the brussels sprouts, I now end up making brussels sprouts chips with the leaves(as you would kale chips, omitting the salt). They do end up tasting slightly bitter(depending how tender the outer leaves are), but we don't mind~.
You will need:
1 pound brussels sprouts
3-4 slices of bacon, cut in strips, optional
2-3 TBS olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup diced yellow bell pepper
1 red jalapeno, minced, optional
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup grape tomatoes
1/2- 2/3 cup black olives, optional
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tsps lemon juice
extra olive oil, for drizzling on top, optional
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, optional
1. Wash and remove outer leaves of sprouts and cut in half. Dice onion, bell peppers and bacon(if using), mince jalapeno pepper(if using) and garlic. Set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season water with plenty of salt... I usually season as I would pasta water.
3. Cook the sprouts until barely tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain under cold water.
4. If using bacon: cook bacon in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, until brown but not crisp, 3 to 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel. You can pour out all of the bacon fat from the pan...or use some(or all of it) to sauté the vegetables....the next step.
If not using bacon: Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat and add olive oil.
5. Add onion (to the olive oil or bacon fat, if using)and cook... stirring often, until soft, reducing the heat if necessary, about 4 minutes or so. Add minced garlic and diced peppers... and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until peppers soften a bit. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. You may want to add a tiny amount of water/wine to deglaze pan if it's needed....I had a bit of water clinging to the brussels sprouts after I drained them and that helped with deglazing my pan.
6. Increase heat to medium-high, add the brussels sprouts and grape tomatoes. Cook, tossing or stirring occasionally, until sprouts are tender and tomatoes are warmed through, about 3 minutes or so.