If you've never been tempted by Brussels sprouts, Alabama-born chef Adam Evans, of Atlanta’s seafood haven the Optimist, has a gratin that may just convert you. His sprouts come laced with bacon, cream, white wine, mustard, and Parmesan. "It’s based on traditional Thanksgiving casseroles—rich, creamy, crispy on the top—but so much better," he says.
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Active Time: 50 minutes
Make ahead: Brussels sprouts mixture (up to 1 day)
8 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb smoked slab-style bacon, diced
5 shallots, sliced into rounds
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 cup white wine, like chardonnay
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp unsalted butter
6 oz. Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Heat 4 tbsp oil in large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook Brussels sprouts in batches, cut-side down, without turning, until cut side is golden brown, 4–6 minutes. Season with ¼ tsp each salt and pepper while cooking.
3. Remove, and transfer to a bowl. (Sprouts will continue to cook in the oven, so do not worry if they seem undercooked.)
4. Repeat with remaining batches, adding 2 tbsp olive oil, as needed. Set aside.
5. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in a medium-size sauté pan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy, 8–10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate, leaving fat in pan; set aside.
6. Reserve ¼ cup bacon fat; set aside.
7. Return pan to medium heat; add shallots and thyme. Cook, stirring often, until shallots are tender, 3–4 minutes. Add wine to pan; increase heat to high.
8. Cook, stirring often and scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate bacon bits, until wine evaporates, 2–3 minutes.
9. Stir in cream, mustard, and butter.Reduce heat to medium; stir in two thirds of the cheese. Season with ½ tsp each salt and pepper. Stir in reserved bacon and Brussels sprouts. Transfer to a 9" x 13"baking dish. (If making ahead, cover tightly and refrigerate.)
10. When ready to bake, toss bread crumbs with reserved ¼ cup bacon fat. Season with ¼ tsp each salt and pepper. Distribute evenly over Brussels sprouts. Top with remaining cheese.
11. Bake until cream bubbles and bread crumbs turn golden brown, 20–30 minutes. Serve hot.