This recipe originally appeared in The News & Observer’s monthly Specialty of the House column in October 2016. Specialty of the House gets recipes for local restaurant dishes. Send requests, including your city, to Specialty of the House, The N&O, P.O. Box 191, Raleigh, N.C. 27602; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The restaurant version calls for frying the quartered Brussels sprouts and smoking the honey. We used liquid smoke and sauteed the sprouts to make this easier for the home cook. And if you’ve never made your own creme fraiche, you will be amazed at how easy it is to produce such a delicious ingredient.
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup honey
3-4 dashes liquid smoke
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tablespoon chopped shallots
2 cups blended oil (51% canola oil 49% olive oil)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pint Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1/4 cup diced cooked pancetta or bacon
1/4 cup diced apricots
Combine heavy cream and buttermilk in an uncovered glass jar to make creme fraiche, and let sit on the kitchen counter for 24 hours. Once thick, like thin sour cream, add juice and zest from half an orange and a quarter of a lemon. Stir to combine. Place in refrigerator until needed.
Combine honey, liquid smoke, zest and juice from a quarter of an orange, Dijon mustard, vinegar, thyme, shallots and oil in a food processor. Blend until fully mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place in refrigerator until needed.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add Brussels sprouts and saute until lightly browned, about 5 to 8 minutes. Place in a large bowl with bacon and apricots. Stir dressing, if it has separated, and add 1/4 cup dressing to Brussels sprouts. Stir until sprouts, bacon and apricots are coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste
For individual servings, place 1 to 2 tablespoons creme fraiche as a base on the plate and top with Brussel sprouts. Or place 1/2 to 3/4 cup creme fraiche on a large platter and top with sprouts to serve family style.
Yield: 4-6 servings.