Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Onions (and Figs)

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This recipe is from the 11/19/10 Cooking Class

1 1/2 pounds brussel sprouts
1 slice thick cut bacon of 2 slices of thinner bacon (if you know the bacon you are using is very flavorful use less to control calories. Think of this ingredient as a seasoning)
1 small diced onion
1/3 lb figs, thinly sliced
a pinch of thyme, or the leaves of a 2 inch branch of fresh thyme
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar to taste

Prep Brussels sprouts ahead of time:
Remove tougher outer leaves, especially when yellowed or blemished.
With a paring knife cut a thin slice off the base of each sprout, then score a cross in the base of the sprout 1/8 of an inch deep (aids with cooking).

Place sprouts in a steamer and cook until just tender.
Immediately rinse in cold water to preserve the fresh green color.

Slice the bacon finely or dice and cook in a heavy skillet over medium heat.
Remove bacon to drain on paper towel

Pour out all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat, add some olive oil .
Add onion to the pan and sliced figs, and cook until the onion is soft, not browned.
Stir in thyme, salt and pepper to taste.

Increase heat to medium high, add the Brussels sprouts and cook, stirring occasionally. (about 3 minutes, until the sprouts are thoroughly warmed and tender.
Add a dash of balsamic vinegar towards the end of the cooking process.

Arrange the sprouts, figs and onions in a serving dish and add the bacon bits on top.

Comments
Sprouts are high in Vit C, plus substantial amounts of Folate and Vit A
When using the vegan bacon option, prepare in exactly the same manner.