Michael's Brussels Sprouts with Cured Pork Belly and Poached Egg

15 March 2012

Executive chef Michael Showers, from Goldener Hirsh restaurant in Park City, paid some of his dues at world-class restaurants in Europe. He says the main thing he brought back was a philosophy about cooking: "Never compromise on ingredients or technique." Poaching eggs in a whirlpool so the whites get wound up around the yolk was a trick he picked up. Here's a great dish to show it off.

Serves 4 as a side dish

  • 5 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • 4 beautiful chicken eggs (Clifford...!)
  • 8 oz cured pork such as pancetta, bacon, guanciale etc..
  • 2 Tablespoons fine olive oil.
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme
  • White vinegar for egg poaching water
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt

Blanch brussels sprouts in boiling salted water for about 1 minute (water must be boiling and seasoned with enough salt to make it taste like sea water) Remove brussels sprouts and drop in ice water till cold then remove and reserve.

If you're using bacon or pancetta now's the time to cook it until lightly browned and a little crispy. Drain on a paper towel and cut into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

To poach the egg bring about four inches of water to a gentle simmer in a wide pot that's not too deep. Add a splash of vinegar to help the egg whites cling together (having very fresh eggs really makes all the difference.) Swirl the water in to a gentle whirlpool and slide the eggs into the center one at a time. The eggs will not take more than 4 to 5 minutes to be ready. In the meantime heat a skillet over medium high heat and add the butter. When the butter begins to brown slightly add the brussels sprouts and saute lightly. Season lightly with salt and a few twists of the pepper mill. Add whichever pork you are using and saute for just a minute or so more until it's warmed through. At this point the eggs should be done so remove them with a slotted spoon and gently place in a small bowl and finish with the thyme. Place brussels sprouts on plate making a nice mound with a dimple in the center. Drizzle the eggs with a tablespoon or two of nice olive oil. Gently slide one egg onto each plate. Finish with a few twists of pepper and enjoy.