I was surfing the meat counter at Whole Foods not too long ago since I’m regularly looking for products I’ve never seen before. Especially since I dazed out a this month and forgot to pick up my CSA from Stillman. So for the next month, I’ll be getting meat elsewhere. But back to the meat counter…I was looking around and saw pancetta. Alright, so I know Italian folks are regularly cooking with this product, but if I’m being honest, I’m not even sure I’ve ever seen it in the store. So I decided I was going to figure out how to use it. I mean, it’s just fancy bacon, right? Couldn’t be too hard. I decided to go with brussel sprouts as the veg to go with it. Not a ton of thought went into this mostly because I love caramelized foods. So that’s what I was going to do with all of the ingredients.
Pancetta and Onions
Slice onions thinly. Dice pancetta into small pieces. Brown in a pan until fat renders. Add onions and turn heat to low. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and cook on low, stirring frequently until onions are caramelized. 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile, cut ends off brussel sprouts and quarter or half the sprouts. Turn heat to high, add sprouts. Here’s the important thing. DO NOT TOUCH the brussels until they have browned on one side. You can check them by flipping the one in the middle of the pan. You want to get a good brown on one side of them. Sprinkle with pepper and serve.
I paired this dinner with mahi. Earlier in the week I made cookies for work that had almonds and coconut flakes (the big kind; not finely flaked or shredded). I decided to crust my mahi with those ingredients to make a nutty complex fish.
Coconut Almond Mahi
3 mahi fillets
2 cups coconut flakes
1 cup whole almonds
1 jar sugar free apricot preserves
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
Put the coconut and almonds in a food processor to thin it out a bit and put it in a gallon size Ziploc bag. Pat the fish dry with paper towel, whisk the eggs and dredge the fish in egg. Put the fish in the Ziploc bag and toss around pressing the coconut almond mixture into the fish so that it sticks. Heat about 2 Tbsp coconut oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Put fish in pan and cover 4-5 minutes or until that side is brown. Do not rush this by upping the heat or you’ll have raw fish. Blech!!!! Flip your fish and cook until brown and cooked through. If you get the right brown and the fish isn’t cooked, throw it in a 350 degree oven until it’s cooked through. This won’t take long. Put the apricot preserves and dijon mustard in a small sauce pan with a pinch of salt and heat through. Drizzle the sauce over the fish, add brussel sprouts to the plate and voila, a beautiful dinner! The sauce was particularly delicious and even Ray who refuses to eat salty and sweet together like it! The mustard really changed the profile of the preserves.
As a side note, make sure you’re reading the label on the apricot preserves. I was able to find a brand that has fruit, apple juice and pectin. That’s what you want, stay away from all that sugar that most brands add!