Fresh herbs, onion and bacon pair beautifully with Brussels sprouts. This vegetable loves the cool weather of fall and early winter. If you can find them still attached to the stalk, don’t be intimidated—buy them, as they’re likely more fresh. All you need to do is slice off each sprout with a paring knife. However you find them at the market, this is a delicious way to prepare them. (Recipe adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. If sprouts are very small, cut in half; otherwise cut into quarters. Cook the sprouts until barely tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, until brown but not crisp, 3 to 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel. Pour out all but about 1 tablespoon bacon fat from the pan.
Add oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until soft but not browned, reducing the heat if necessary, about 4 minutes. Stir in thyme (or savory) sprigs, salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high, add the Brussels sprouts, and cook, tossing or stirring occasionally, until tender and warmed through, about 3 minutes. Remove the herb sprigs. Add the bacon, thyme (or savory) leaves and lemon juice, if using, and toss.