Crispy pancetta brussel sprouts, candied orange zest & toasted walnuts paired with a lemon truffle aoili.

Hello! I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving. Let’s say that this year was amazing. I am so grateful for having the opportunity to have friends and family around . Especially around a dining room table. This year I made brussel sprouts along with a few other dishes.

Growing up I always had the conception that brussel sprouts taste like cod liver oil. When I was little, my curiosity got the best of me and I asked my mother to make brussel sprouts. She told me that they were “stinky and smelled like sweaty feet”. I am guessing that when she was a child, they were prepared for her boiled. I never wanted to eat something that smelled like stinky feet. I stayed away.

One day in my early-twenties I came across brussel sprouts on the menu. Since I have an adventurous palette I decided to order some. Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it and always try everything once. Let’s just say when they arrived to the table, they were a little stinky. Having an open mind (since I do love a great stinky cheese) I took the halved brussel and dipped it into a lemon butter sauce. The golden charred brussel was nice and crispy. It was delicious. My love affair for brussel sprouts began.

As soon as I got home, my crazy mad scientist came out. I started experimenting to find the perfect combination. That is when I came up with this recipe:

Crispy brussels with pancetta, prosciutto, candied orange zest and toasted walnuts paired with a lemon truffle aoili. 

Truffle’s compliment brussels sprouts so well.

In the recipe below I added some notes that might help you with substitutions:

-If you do not have truffle oil, you can substitute garlic olive oil.

-If you do not have pancetta, you can substitute bacon.

If you don’t want to add prosciutto, use ham instead. (just make sure to brown ham before adding it to the brussels)

Everything only takes about an hour to prepare.

Candied Orange Zest -20 Minutes

  • ½ cup of Orange zest
  • 1 cup of sugar + another ¼ cup of sugar in a bowl
  • 1 cup of water


1.       In a saucepan, add 1 cup of sugar and water.  Bring to a boil.

2.      While your saucepan is warming up,  clean your oranges, use a zester to peel long skinny strips from the orange’s skin.  (IF you don’t have a zester, use a vegetable peeler to peel long strips of the orange.) (try to peel just the orange skin, staying away from going too deep. The white part is very bitter.) Use a paring knife to create long strips.

3.      Once the simple syrup is boiling add the orange zest strips and reduce to a simmer.  Cook for 20 minutes.

4.      Take the orange zest from the saucepan and toss in the bowl of sugar.

5.      Place the orange zest on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Try to seperate strands as much as possible. Allow to dry overnight.

(I like to place a piece of saran wrap over the cookie sheet. Store in a good ziploc bag or a container with a lid.)

Brussel Sprouts Ingredients:

  • 2 slices thick bacon/ or 4 slices pancetta
  • 2 slices minced Prosciutto (or ham)
  • 1 pound Brussel sprouts
  • Candied orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons of pecans
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Directions for brussel sprouts -35 minutes

1.      Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2.      Pull off any ugly outer leaves from the brussel sprouts. (Wilted or bruised). Slice off the stem edge and cut the entire brussel sprout in half-length wise. 

3.      Cut bacon/pancetta into 1” pieces. Fry bacon over medium in cast-iron skillet for about 8 minutes until golden. Place bacon on top of a paper towel lined plate. 

4.      Using reserved bacon grease, place the sprouts in the cast iron pan cut side down. Make sure that the brussel sprouts are in one layer.  Cook until sides are golden, about 7 minutes. 

(side-note: I have tried roasting brussel sprouts in many different types of cookware, the best results come from the cast iron pan)

5.      Place the cast iron pan in oven and roast for 15 minutes.(great time to prepare the aioli below)

6.      Add prosciutto & crushed pecans to a small pan and toast for a few moments on medium low heat. Place bacon, prosciutto and pecans in a food processor. Pulse until you pecans are small enough and is incorporated in the prosciutto and bacon.

7.    Add the bacon, prosciutto and walnuts to the brussel sprouts, drizzle the oil, lemon juice and leave in oven for 3 minutes.

8.    Plate the sprouts in a serving dish. Toss and garnish with candied orange zest. (serve warm) Do not salt the brussels! The prosciutto and bacon will naturally salt the brussels.

  Truffle lemon Aioli -5 minutes

  • – 2 egg yolks

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove minced toasted garlic

  • 1 cup canola oil

  • ½ cup olive oil

  • 2 tablespoon white truffle oil

  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoon of honey
  • fine sea salt/truffle salt
  • Fresh ground pepper. Season to taste

 1. Toast garlic on stove top in a small pan, keep the paper on while toasting and peel/mince once done.  

2. Make sure to roll out your lemon with pressure before cutting to release the juice.

I twist a fork inside the lemon once it is cut it to release more juice while squeezing. 

 3. To make the aioli, combine yolks, lemon juice, honey and garlic in blender, turn the blender on medium and drizzle the canola oil and olive oil into the blender in a steady stream until emulsified into the eggs and is fully incorporated. 

4. Season with truffle oil, salt and freshly ground pepper. Make sure you season to taste. I used about 1 tablespoon of salt.(maybe a little more, make sure to use your tongue to determine how much to add.)

Depending on the taste, use honey or sugar to help with any bitterness from the lemon if still bitter.

Best used as a dipping sauce for the brussel sprouts. Spoon on to your plate and plate your brussels sprouts. If you toss with your brussels, the brussels will get soggy.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s