Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

Brussels Sprouts Crostini with Pancetta and Balsamic

Brussels Sprouts Crostini with Pancetta and Balsamic

Although they’re named after a Belgian city, this popular member of the brassica family is thought to have been first cultivated in Rome. To shave the sprouts safely, I recommend using the thin
slicing disk on your food processor—not a mandoline or knife.


  • 12 slices of day-old Italian bread or a French baguette (sliced on a diagonal)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for making the crostini and drizzling
  • 2 ounces pancetta or bacon, finely diced
  • 1 pound small brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly shaved
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly and finely grated
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar di Modena


Step 1

Brush one side of each slice of bread with olive oil. Heat a large skillet on the stovetop over medium heat. Working in two batches, if necessary, arrange the bread slices (oiled side down) in the pan and lightly brown, turning once—about 5 minutes total. Transfer in a single layer to a rimmed sheet pan (again, oiled side up) and set aside. Do not wash the skillet.

Step 2

Reheat the skillet and fry the pancetta or bacon until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Wipe out the pan, then reheat it. When the pan is hot, add the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, then the shaved brussels sprouts and the garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté the sprouts until tender but still bright green, 6 to 8 minutes. Return the pancetta to the pan and toss.

Step 3

To build the crostini, sprinkle some cheese on each toast. (Work on the sheet pan to keep your work station clean.) Top with a couple of spoonfuls of the hot brussels sprouts mixture. Drizzle with the balsamic and, if desired, more olive oil. Serve warm.

Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer