Well, this was a new one for me. Before visiting Chicago in October, I researched restaurants online so we would have an idea of some that we might want to try. Since I must eat gluten-free (for those that don't know I have celiac disease), I try to always choose restaurants that offer good options for me while also offering dishes that will keep my husband with the adventurous palate satisfied. The menu at this particular restaurant didn't have tons of choices for me, but the one that caught my eye was a Brussels Sprouts Salad. I ordered it, and boy, was I happy I did. The rest of the food that we were served was just okay, but this salad was memorable.
I came home and immediately began to search for a similar recipe. I found it here, and I made it for our Thanksgiving dinner. It was good, but not as great as I remembered the one in the restaurant being. So I played with it some, and actually simplified it and to me it is once again over-the-top delicious.
Looks yummy, huh? Before I share the recipe for the salad, I want to tell you about the dressing. It is a mustard vinaigrette that is very versatile. I keep a jar of it in my refrigerator to use not only on this salad, but on quinoa (a recipe for this coming later), spinach salad, mixed green salad, etc. It is so easy to mix up a quick batch of this, and so much healthier and cheaper than buying bottled dressing. Mustard Vinaigrette
2 Tablespoons stone ground mustard
6 Tablespoons white wine vinegar (1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons)
3 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 1/2 Tablespoons apple juice concentrate
2 cups canola oil
1/4 cup water
In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar, sugar, garlic, salt, pepper and apple juice concentrate. Place this mixture in a food processor or blender; slowly add water and oil and mix until combined. Store in a jar in the refrigerator; shake well before using.
Now, for the salad recipe. Couldn't be easier. Play with it. Add different nuts, different dried fruits, different cheese. Even a different dressing! But keep the brussels sprouts. I promise--even if you're not a brussels sprouts lover--you will love them prepared this way!Brussels Sprouts Salad
16 oz. brussels sprouts
1/2 teaspoon - 1 teaspoon kosher salt (to your taste)
12 dried figs, chopped
1/2 cup almonds, toasted
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
Dressing to taste
To prepare the brussels sprouts, trim the ends off (don't take much off, just the very end). Slice lengthwise into fourths, then chop into smaller pieces. Place in a colander and rinse very well (sometimes dirt can hide in the leaves, so I rinse several times), then put into a medium saucepan and cover with water and add salt. Cover, and heat just until they begin to boil. Remove from heat and pour back into a colander, then run cold water over them thoroughly. You do not want them to cook much at all. Allow to drain well (do this ahead of time if possible so they can drain for a while). After draining, spread several paper towels out on your countertop and place the brussels sprouts on them, then put more paper towels on top and press as much water out as possible. If you don't do this your salad will have a bland taste because of too much water left in the sprouts.
Place the drained and dried brussels sprouts into a large bowl, then add the figs and almonds. Pour the desired amount of dressing over this mixture and toss well. (I start with a minimal amount and add more if needed--doesn't take much!). Sprinkle the cheese on top.
The amounts recommended in this recipe are definitely suggestions--you can add more or less per your taste.
I can't wait for you to try this recipe! Please leave a comment and let me know if you enjoyed it--especially if you are converted from a brussels sprouts hater to a can't get enough, where have they been all my life brussels sprouts lover!