Fuse Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Cauliflower with Bacon and Cheddar Cheese to make a fabulous dish that everyone loves. The keys for roasting cruciferous vegetables to perfection, slightly browned on the outside yet moist and tender inside, are soaking in water first, then briefly roasting in a hot oven. With deep satisfying flavor, they retain their shape, no mush. Studding with bacon (who doesn't love bacon?) with a creamy cheese topping rockets them to an all-time high.
The photo shows how beautifully Tillamook Extra Sharp White Cheddar melts, barely napping the vegetables, so all flavors shine through and the cheese remains light, not heavy like cheese sauce. Use any aged cheese with tang, or smoked cheese, or flavored with hot pepper, as the counterpoint. Pepper Jack, Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Colby, White Brick, Swiss, Gruyere, Emmenthal, or Comte are great choices for Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Cauliflower. Make this dish with all brussel sprouts or all cauliflower or mix. Include as much bacon and cheese as you like. Serve hot as a snack, as a filling inside crunchy rolls, or a side dish to wings and ribs.
4 servings. Roasting time is 30 minutes.
1 pound (454 g) large brussel sprouts
1 pound (454 g) cauliflower florets (white, orange, or purple)
Lightly salted cool water for soaking
4 scallions or 1/4 large onion, thick slices, optional
Garlic cloves, optional
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Ground black pepper or cayenne red pepper to taste
2 thick slices smoked bacon or turkey bacon (2 ounces or 55 g)
8 ounces (225 g) cheddar cheese, grated or shaved
1. Preparation of Brussel Sprouts and Cauliflower: Rinse the brussel sprouts and cauliflower florets. Trim off and discard any brown edges. From top-to-bottom, vertically split each brussel sprout in half. Fill a bowl with cool water, salt lightly. For I hour, immerse and soak the split brussel sprouts and cauliflower florets in the water to absorb moisture since they dry-out in the grocery store even when bagged. Drain, leaving a very small amount of water in the bowl. Add the scallions or onion and garlic cloves if using. Pour in enough olive oil to coat lightly and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss.
In an ovenproof roasting pan, spread out in one layer. Make sure the bottom of the pan glistens with a little water and oil; this should prevent burning during roasting.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 F/200 C/Gas Mark 6. Place the pan in the center of the oven. Bake for 25 minutes; during this time, turn the dish around and turn over the vegetable pieces for even cooking. Meanwhile, chop the bacon and saute until almost crisp. Drain and reserve. Remove the pan from the oven. Sprinkle on the bacon bits and cheese. Put the pan back into the oven and roast for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts and drapes over the Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Cauliflower. Serve while hot directly from the roasting pan.