This is a recipe about balance between sweet, salty and savory, while maintaining the illusion of being healthy. It's brussel sprouts done just like my Franco-Italian heritage taught me. —Matthew Bounous
Preheat your oven to 425f and line a baking sheet with parchment paper/silpat/aluminum foil--basically, anything that will make cleanup easy. Peel a 1" wide by 2" long piece of rind from your lemon, then halve the lemon and reserve. Bundle your thyme. Dice your shallot/ onion. Peel, stem and halve the brussel sprouts and place into a heat-proof bowl. Now, your prep should be complete.
Take the thinly sliced Guanciale and cube into 1/2" squares. Then, place into a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Render the guanciale until it is crisp and those fatty bits are like cracklins'. Remove the bits of guanciale.
Take your finely diced shallots, or onion, and place into the guanciale fat/oil over medium-low heat with the bundled time, lemon rind and. Allow to sweat/cook gently until the shallot/onions are translucent and lighlty browned around the edges. Remove from the heat. Everything can be done ahead up until this point.
Pour the infused guanciale fat/oil with thyme, garlic, lemon and shallot/onion over the brussel sprouts. Season with kosher salt and pepper, then toss until the brussel sprouts are completely coated and slightly glistening.
Scoop the brussel sprouts onto the prepared baking tray leaving behind excess oil. Like I said, we want this dish to at least appear somewhat healthy. And make sure that the sprouts are all cut-side down on the tray. Place into the pre-heated oven and set your timer for 15- to 20-minutes.
Check your sprouts, they should be fork tender, slightly charred on top and golden brown on the bottom. If they are not, then turn on the broiler and keep a close eye on them!
When the desired color has been reached, remove the sprouts from the oven and immediately spoon into a serving dish. Sprinkle the crispy guanciale on top and mix. Finish with a squeeze of lemon, a couple grinds of pepper and a pinch of kosher salt, or if you want to be indulgent, a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt. And you are ready to serve.