1⁄2 cup pecans (50 g), roughly halved
2 pounds (905 g) Brussels sprouts, stem ends trimmed away and discarded, outer leaves discarded, halved
6 ounces (170 g) country ham, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) squares
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 1⁄2 medium avocado, diced
1 teaspoon (.8 g) chopped fresh thyme
Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Toast the pecans on a baking sheet about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer to a plate to cool. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C, or gas mark 6).
In a large bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts and country ham with the olive oil, season with salt and red pepper flakes (keep in mind that the country ham is already salty), and spread evenly on a large baking sheet. Roast 15 to 20 minutes, or until the Brussels sprouts are brown in spots and cooked through. Transfer the Brussels sprouts and country ham to a bowl, toss with the avocado and thyme, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with the toasted pecans, and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Excerpted from The New Southern Table: Classic Ingredients Revisited by Brys Stephens. (Fair Winds Press, 2014)