Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad...

At the store, I always loved looking at the heap of  Brussels sprouts, but then I would just walk away because I wasn't sure what to do with them and whether they would appeal to my kids. Then a recipe idea caught my eye in a magazine-- Brussels sprouts Caesar Salad! I thought how cool and novel-- a twist on a classic, and you know my kids just LOVE Caesar salad with all the fixins'.  In fact, my oldest son started eating lettuce because he loved my take on Caesar dressing, so this was my sure-bet segway into Brussels sprouts territory. And today I happily read on Canadian Grocers food trend report that these humble large green marbles are on this year's restaurant radar. "Quebec celebrity chef Ricardo Larrivee has found Brussels sprouts on many restaurant menus, including roasted and presented at the table on the stalk with vinegar syrup and grated cheese." Christine Couvelier, a leading Canadian food trend guru from Vancouver's Culinary Concierge says 2015 has been an amazing year for vegetables and the root-to-leaf movement will continue in 2016 with more creative preparations, from grilling and smoking to roasting and charring. I say, bring it on and let's eat what earth's soils had intended for us all along!

Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad
Makes 6 servings

Dressing (makes 1/2 cup)
1 - 2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. anchovy paste, or 1/2 anchovy packed in oil, drained and finely chopped
1/2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I only ever use Hellmann's-- it's my household brand)
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
two dashes of Worcestershire sauce
freshly ground black pepper
a good squeeze of fresh lemon

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1-1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, washed, drained and thinly sliced
3 slices bacon (50% less sodium), pan-fried until crispy
croutons (see below for quick how-to using day old bread)
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat pan/skillet over medium -high heat until hot and add 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Add Brussels sprouts and cook stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes until slightly charred. Remove into a large bowl. Let cool.

Meanwhile, mix dressing ingredients together; set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.

Make Your Own Croutons: Preheat oven to 400F. Cut day old bread into cubes and place in a large bowl. Drizzle cubes with olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (optional). Mix well. Spread seasoned bread onto a sheet pan and bake for about 15 minutes.

Add dressing to the warm sprouts; toss along with bacon and croutons. Adjust seasoning and top with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Brussels sprouts has a traditional association with the holidays and my rendition of the Caesar salad was served with Succulent Beef Short Ribs au Jus over the entertaining December month.

My kids gave me  one semi-thumbs up! They liked the salad in a small dose but they love my original romaine Caesar much better. I mean, it's definitely a start-- exposing them more to the humble sprout will eventually familiarize them with the taste and hopefully one they will start to enjoy for years to come.

You can try oven-roasting them straight which is also super delicious that brings out their natural sweetness by caramelizing and lessens their bitterness; add it to your simple roasting sides repertoire of cauliflower and broccoli (I'm taking note for ours :)). Preheat oven to 400F. In bowl, toss 1 lb. sprouts (cut in half or even quarters if heads are large) with 2 Tbsp. EVOO, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt; lay on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or so; turn over once mid-way. They are ready when centre is tender and edges slightly charred crispy.

Happy discovery! Let your new year bring in interesting tastes and flavours by trying new foods with your family! 
☆*:.。. o(≧▽≦)o .。.:*☆

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