It wasn’t that long ago when most people turned up their noses at the prospect of an appetizer or side dish of Brussels sprouts. But thanks to searing, roasting and charring along with the addition of intoxicating ingredients that make these little cabbages crave-worthy, Brussels sprouts have hit their stride and can be found on any respectable restaurant menu and is likely even one of the top-selling dishes.
Typically, chefs sear the Brussels sprout halves until they are charred to perfection. Then they add a few squirts of Sriracha or fish sauce and a small handful of crushed peanuts or cashews for crunch. Other times, kitchen creatives will add the requisite pork such as lardon, pancetta, or bacon, while some culinary wizards go for the far more luxurious (and also ubiquitous) pork belly combination. While the sheer simplicity of roasted Brussels with garlic can’t be beat, the newest way to indulge in Brussels sprouts is in a salad. Raw.
As our Thanksgiving menu keeps shrinking and morphing into something that more resembles a vegetarian feast, this new addition of Brussels sprout salad was a welcome change since I traditionally serve a version of an above mentioned seared Brussels sprout recipe. As this typically gluttonous menu gets more and more curated (and healthy), it makes me care about each and every dish to ensure the culinary line-up is stellar, packed with equal parts flavor, color and nutrition.
While our Thanksgiving menu didn’t disappoint by any means, it was easy to agree that this year’s top-seated dish was the Brussels sprout salad with apples, toasted walnuts and shaved Parmesan. It’s the dish David and I both could have made an entire meal on. And considering the Thanksgiving feast is David’s favorite meal of the year, this-salad-that-has-the-potential-to-stand-alone was paramount to setting the tone for this day of gratitude at our house.
Tart, crunchy, earthy, hearty and refreshing, this salad has every important texture and flavor you want in a salad. Inspired by a recent New York Times recipe by Chef Paul Kahan of The Publican, even non-salad lovers will want seconds of this dish. Perhaps you remember the Waldorf salad of the 70’s?
Consider this the grown-up version of the classic Waldorf salad that will erase all of your previous memories of this mayonnaisey concoction from your childhood. Don’t have any walnuts, try toasted hazelnuts. Or you could also replace the apple with a pear. Feel free to change up the nuts and fruit, but it’s the dressing you won’t want to change at all as it’s the ideal combination of tangy, spicy and sweet that calls for a celebration.
Note: This salad would make a stunning, uncommon and absolutely craveable addition to any holiday party table. And to make it really say “holiday,” replace the Parm with blue cheese crumbles and toss in a a handful of dried cranberries or cherries for a beautiful pop of color and another burst of tart and sweet.
Shaved Raw Brussels Sprout Salad with Apple, Walnuts and Parmesan
For the dressing:
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon toasted chili flakes pulverized in a coffee grinder or mortar
- 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 cup walnut oil
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
For the salad:
- 1 large Honeycrisp or similarly tart and sweet apple cored and chopped in 1/4" dice
- 16-20 Brussels sprouts bases trimmed, sliced thin vertically (see picture below)
- 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- In a small bowl or mason jar with a lid, combine the shallot and cider vinegar. Add the chile flakes, mustard and honey and shake well to combine. Slowly blend in the walnut oil and evoo until emulsified and set aside.
In a small bowl or mason jar (with a lid), combine the shallot and cider vinegar. Add the chile flakes, mustard and honey and shake well to combine. Slowly blend in the walnut oil and evoo until emulsified and set aside.
In a large salad bowl, combine the diced apple and thinly shaved Brussels sprouts and add a third of the dressing and toss well to coat.
Slice the Brussels sprouts vertically and as thinly as possible so it becomes more like shavings.
Fold in the toasted walnuts, Parmesan and lemon juice and add another third of the dressing and mix well.
Divide the salad on individual plates and add another spoonful of dressing, if desired, on top of each. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve.
Refrigerate any leftover salad and enjoy the next day. Refrigerate any leftover dressing until the next time you crave this sensational salad.
Note: This salad would make a stunning, uncommon and absolutely craveable addition to any holiday party table. And to make it really say "holiday," replace the Parm with blue cheese crumbles and toss in a a handful of dried cranberries or cherries for a beautiful pop of color and another burst of tart and sweet.