Straying away from the many roasted brussels sprout recipes is this boiled variant, inspired by my time staging at Chef Dan Barber's restaurant. Here, the brussels sprouts are boiled intensely for a very short time, which just cooks it through and mitigates against that stinky odor sprouts are known to give off. The result is real tender balls of brussels sprouts with a super clean, vegetal sweetness that totally changed my perspective on these bulbous brassicas. —Yi Jun Loh
Cook the bacon until crispy. You can do it in a pan, frying them on low heat for 10-15 minutes until they’re nicely browned. But I like to bake them in an oven preheated to 375°F for 15-20 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Either way, when they’re nice and crispy, slice or break them up into small chunks, and save all the bacon fat!
To make the mayonnaise, start by whisking together the egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice, and salt. Then, keep whisking while slowly drizzling in the vegetable oil and the cooled bacon fat. To make a successful mayo, add the oil in extra slowly in the beginning while whisking vigorously to make sure a smooth emulsion forms before more oil is added.
Now, onto cooking the brussel sprouts! To start, place the gallon of water and salt in a deep pot, and bring it to a strong boil, keeping it over high heat to maintain the boil. Then, place the brussel sprouts into the boiling water and cook for 4 minutes. Then, fish out the brussel sprouts with a strainer or slotted spoon, and let them cool slightly before slicing them in half lengthwise. Taste the brussel sprouts and check if they’re tender all the way through. If you have particularly large brussel sprouts, you might need to put them back in the pot and boil them an additional 30 seconds.
After they’re cooked, transfer the brussel sprouts into a bowl, and season with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and a few good grinds of black pepper. Toss the brussel sprouts around in the bowl to make sure they are all well-seasoned.
Top the brussel sprouts with the bacon bits and a dusting of smoked paprika, and serve it with the bacon mayonnaise on the side to dip through. (Or you can toss the brussel sprouts in the mayo and then serve them, if you're into that rustic, messier look, heh!)