Fact: If you told me ten years ago that I would get enthused about raw Brussels sprouts I’d have told you to get your head examined. Then again, if you had told me I would outgrow my beloved, nightclub-essential sequined tube tops I would have scoffed in a similar fashion.
Things change. People change.
When someone tells me they don’t like grapefruit or artichokes or, yes, Brussels sprouts, I now consider it a bit of a challenge. Everything has delicious potential if cooked or served in the right way. I love salads and have looked to everything from kale to beets to celery to keep things interesting. Raw Brussels sprouts are shaved and paired with salty pecorino, buttery walnuts and sweet Fuji apple before being tossed with a pungent, mustardy vinaigrette. This salad rocks.
Almost as much as my tube tops.
SHAVED BRUSSELS SPROUTS SALAD WITH APPLE, WALNUTS AND MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE
1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, thinly shaved by hand or on a small mandoline
½ small bulb fennel, trimmed and thinly sliced by hand or on mandoline
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1 fuji apple, cut in half, cored and very thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup Dijon Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
In a medium salad bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts, fennel, walnuts, cheese, parsley and apple. Add the vinaigrette, toss, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
Yield: ½ cup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Put mustard into bowl large enough to whisk with movement. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until fully incorporated. Add lemon juice and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, taste and pour over salad.
*My two cents: I suggest buying the best cheese you can find, and there is a very big difference between true Parmigiano Regiano cheese and Americanized Parmesan. If it doesn’t have its name stenciled into the rind, it’s playing dress up. This is not to say I always buy the absolute finest quality cheeses, but when you are serving ingredients fresh, it is absolutely worth the splurge.
You can certainly swap in radicchio or endive for the fennel, or stick to Brussels sprouts as the green component. I particularly like the contrast of textures and flavors of the Brussels and fennel. Salads are about rounding out the palate to balance tart, sweet, and crisp flavors. Neither acid, fat, salt or sweet should scream at you. They should whisper to you, nudging you in the direction of the others. Play around and see what your taste buds tell you.