Julia Roberts’ Pre-Movie Meal: Brussels Sprout and Pancetta Salad

11/13/2013 at 12:43 PM ET

Julia Roberts Brussels Sprout Salad Napa Valley Grille
William Pruyn; inset: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

It’s no secret Julia Roberts loves to eat.

At this year’s Hollywood Film Awards, the actress described herself as a “hearty eater” who assured her husband before their first date that she doesn’t “just have salad.”

Still, she happily forked into this pile of greens at L.A.’s Napa Valley Grille on Monday night when her posse—an assemblage of stars including George Clooney, Chris Cooper, Juliette Lewis and Kathy Bates—ordered two for the table.

The salad teams Brussels sprouts cooked in rendered fat with crispy pieces of pancetta, salty pistachios, Manchego cheese and a runny poached egg. And the recipe, shared with PEOPLE by Napa Valley Grille chef Taylor Boudreaux, is so simple you can make it in a flash.

To Roberts’ point about being a hearty eater—the group also ordered five cheeseburgers and plenty of other food before jetting off to an August: Osage County screening at Westwood Village Theatre.

Warm Brussels Sprout Salad
Serves 2-3

½ oz. pancetta, finely diced
4 oz. Brussels sprouts,  thinly sliced lengthwise
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 oz. red wine vinaigrette (recipe below)
1 tbsp. chopped pistachios, toasted
Shredded Manchego cheese, to taste
1 egg, poached

1. Blanch pancetta by plunging it into boiling water, quickly removing it and plunging it into ice water. Repeat two more times.

2. In a sauté pan over low to medium heat, render pancetta by cooking until crispy and brown, letting the juices from the fat collect in the pan. Add Brussels sprouts and coat with rendered fat.

3. Season with salt and pepper, then add vinaigrette and toss sprouts. Sauté for 45 seconds until al dente, being careful not to overcook.

4. Plate and garnish with toasted pistachios and shredded Manchego cheese. Top with poached egg and fresh cracked pepper. Serve.

Red Wine Vinaigrette 

½ cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. chopped parsley
½ tbsp. chopped thyme
1 small clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. minced shallot
1½ cups blended olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, combine first seven ingredients, then slowly whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper.

—Marissa Conrad

FILED UNDER: Food , Julia Roberts , Recipes

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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