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Restaurant-Style Brussels Sprouts from 'Houston Cooks' and Common Bond 

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Crispy Brussels sprouts

Common Bond's Crispy Sprouts combine Brussels sprouts, pancetta and caramelized onions to make a delicious side, snack or even a whole meal when paired with a fried egg on top.

If you’ve visited a local store lately, it’s likely that you’ve seen the new cookbook Houston Cooks: Recipes from the City’s Favorite Restaurants and Chefs by Francine Spiering. This new book seems to be on every local shelf, ready to give as a gift this holiday season – to yourself or to someone else.

Cindy Burnett, who writes The Buzz column “Page Turners,” and I have so enjoyed collaborating on our columns that we’ve partnered again on this buzzy new cookbook. She writes the book review, and I try a recipe from the book (see her review of the book here). 

The recipes in Houston Cooks are as diverse as the city and range from Asian to Middle Eastern to Italian to Texan. We thought we’d stay on middle ground and try something everyone is loving: Crispy Sprouts from Common Bond Café and Bakery.

If you’re looking for healthy Brussels sprouts, stop reading. But if you’re looking to make the kind of sticky, sweet, craveable Brussels sprouts that you’ll find at one of Houston’s fabulous restaurants, this is your recipe. You start by caramelizing thinly sliced red onions in balsamic and brown sugar, and, really, you could end right there, because these onions would be a delicious side on their own (or add them to a roast beef sandwich, as chef Matt Baum recommends). But choosing to go on and make the Brussels sprouts, and the pancetta, and adding the honey, is a good decision. Your people won’t believe that you made them. They’re that yummy.

Crispy Sprouts from Chef Matt Baum at Common Bond Café and Bakery

Caramelized Onions, ingredients: 
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt

Brussels Sprouts, ingredients: 
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
4 cups Brussels sprouts, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup diced pancetta
½ cup Caramelized Onions (see recipe)
Salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon honey

Caramelized Onions, recipe directions: 
Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 10 minutes or until softened and beginning to caramelize. Stir in sugar, vinegar, pepper, and salt and cook for another 10 minutes or until syrupy.

Remove from heat and let cool. (Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week – these onions are a great addition to a roast beef sandwich.)

Brussels Sprouts, recipe directions:
Heat vegetable oil in a deep fryer or deep saucepan to a temperature of 350 degrees. Carefully lower Brussels sprouts into the oil and deep-fry for 2 minutes or until crisp on the outside and a little hard still on the inside (the sprouts will cook some more when tossed with the caramelized onions). Using a slotted spoon, transfer Brussels sprouts to a paper towel-lined bowl to drain.

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add pancetta and fry for 1 minute or until crisp. Reduce heat to medium-high, add Brussels sprouts and saute for 2 minutes. Add caramelized onions and toss for 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 

Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle honey over the top and serve immediately.

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