Welcome to Snacksgiving, where we bring you classic Thanksgiving dishes in the form of poppable, dippable, shareable bites.
Thanksgiving is a meal where we’re free to give into our basest desires. Potatoes are whipped with butter, cranberries are boiled with sugar, pearl onions are baked in a bath of heavy cream. When you consider all of those things, you’ll realize that this Brussels sprout flatbread “pizza”—made with butter, cheese, and a generous amount of pork fat—is the perfect vegetable dish for your Snacksgiving menu.
I put “pizza” in quotes because this recipe is really is less of an Italian pizza and more of a German “flammkuchen,” a food that is quite astonishingly not a part of our regular American diet despite the fact that it contains bacon and is insanely fun to say out loud. Flammkuchen, like pizza, begins with a piece of dough rolled out into a thin oval, which is then smeared with sour cream, topped with butter-fried bacon, and then smothered in onions that have been cooked in the leftover butter and bacon fat. If the very idea of this scares you, just remember that Germans rank 21st in life expectancy while Americans rank 43rd. Plus, they’re not the geniuses who thought that drenching vegetables in corn syrup before covering them in marshmallows was a good idea, so none of us should be fretting over a little flammkuchen.
Simple pancetta-roasted Brussels sprouts are a Thanksgiving tradition in my house, and it seemed natural to snack-ify the dish by combining it with the concept of flammkuchen, then slicing it all up into bite-sized squares. When you split the difference between flammkuchen and pizza, you’re pretty much left with “flatbread,” so that’s what we’ll call this recipe.
Instead of just plopping the Brussels sprouts on there like an ill-considered pizza topping, I decided to incorporate them in three different ways: first, sauteed with the onions and pancetta to make the base; second, raw, tossed in a pork fat and sherry vinaigrette to add both flavorful and textural contrast; lastly, fried until almost black, because the best roasted Brussels sprouts are the ones that are nearly charred to oblivion.
- 6 (7-inch) pita flatbreads, either white or whole wheat
- 12 slices Havarti or Muenster deli cheese
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 4 oz. cubed pancetta
- 2 medium onions, Frenched
- 1 lb. shaved Brussels sprouts
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus a few extra Tbsp. for greasing pans
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with heavy-duty foil and lightly grease with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Arrange three flatbreads on each pan to fit, cover each with a layer of cheese—tearing to fit as necessary—and set aside.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat; add 2 cups of Brussels sprouts with all the onions and pancetta, plus a hefty pinch of salt, and stir well to coat. Cover and cook for 12 minutes, stirring every so often, until melted and tender. Place a wire strainer over a large bowl, drain the Brussels sprout mixture, then divide the mixture evenly between the six flatbreads. (Don’t throw that bowl of fat in the sink! You’ll need it in a moment.) Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until the flatbread crisps up.
While making the vinaigrette, put the skillet back on the stove over medium-high to preheat.
Grab that large bowl you strained the Brussels over, then pour out all of the fat except for two tablespoons, which is going to become the base of your vinagrette. Whisk in the Dijon mustard, sherry vinegar, garlic powder, salt. and pepper. While whisking violently, slowly stream in the olive oil in a steady trickle until you have a smooth dressing. Add the remaining Brussels sprouts and toss well to coat.
Take half the dressed Brussels sprouts and throw them into the hot skillet, spreading them out and smashing them down with the back of a spatula to help brown. Continue cooking until they are practically blackened—anywhere from 3-5 minutes.
Divide the raw and fried Brussels sprouts between the warm flatbreads, cut the flatbreads into pieces, and serve immediately.