“Original Momofuku” style Brussels or why I admire David Chang

December 15th 2013

WP_20131215_010 (2)
I think David Chang is an admirable fellow, he is super successful, unapologetic, self-deprecating, and totally unique. Dave never seems to give in to “norms” or play by the “rules” and he was totally rewarded for this. Classically trained, he uses his skill to highlight the flavors from his culture into a whole new flavor profile entirely. I guess I like that he refused to compromise, that he served his dishes because they taste good, not because the ingredients were trendy, he was loved by patrons and critics for “his” flavors, not because he was handsome or witty, or because he was “camera” friendly. He is the “un Celebrity” chef, in life we get blinded by what we are told or think beauty or success should look or act like, we wear societal “blinders” of sorts. I love when someone is recognized and beloved for their lack of mainstream, idealized beauty and talent. Look past what you think “beauty” or “success” or “fame” is….you might just become who you really are supposed to be, when you make your own rules. Of course “results aren’t typical” but it’s worth a try I think.
This recipe is my take on the brussel sprouts that David Chang served at his flagship “Momofuku” back in the early 2000’s. This dish consisting of caramelized brussels, served with bacon and pureed kimchi became so popular he took them off the menu! I guess it was kind of the restaurant equivalent of “Radiohead” refusing to play “Creep” at gigs. He later revived the idea and does a different version where the sprouts are deep fried and jazzed up with fish sauce, lime, and sciracha. That is the recipe he has published, but I was much more interested in the original, the one that blew New Yorkers out of their chairs, well that and I had two pounds of brussel sprouts I needed to cook before they froze in our rentals home’s less than stellar fridge from the 90’s.
You will need:
2 lbs fresh brussel sprouts, woody part of stem removed and sliced length wise
6 strips of good quality bacon
1/3 cup kimchi, pureed in a blender, hand blender, or food processer
Fresh cracked pepper
A wedge or two of fresh lime
1 13x9 inch sheet pan
This is done on a single sheet pan in the oven, I did it this way to be simple, fool proof, and for easy clean up, his method is on the stove top, but if you don’t want to cook in batches I recommend this route.
Pre-heat oven to 375. Place bacon sliced on pan and cook in oven till crispy about 25 minutes, flip half way through. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels, using the same pan, drain half the bacon grease off, leave the rest and add brussel sprouts cut side down, turn oven up to 400, cook 12 minutes, stir around and cook another 10 minutes until caramelized. Remove pan from oven, and pour on kimchi puree (right on to the sheet pan it will deglaze the brown bits off the bottom, that equals flavor!), stir until all the sprouts are well coated, hit it with some pepper, squeeze or two of lime, and top with bacon. Enjoy! Serves 6 as a side dish.