december 19, 2015
Brussels sprouts. You either hate them or love them. If you are in the former camp, perhaps you were coerced as a child into eating those mushy green orbs, straight from the freezer bag to the vigorously boiling water. Cooked into submission, they reeked of stale cabbage.
If you adore brussels sprouts, you are thrilled to see them on the menu of most restaurants these days that champion seasonal and local produce. Hands down, the best brussels sprouts dish I have enjoyed is the combo with butternut squash and shiitake mushrooms at Richmond’s Rancho T Restaurant. Although this was billed as a side dish, yours truly could have downed a whole platter for my entree. I liked it so much that I added a facsimile to this month’s The Good Eats Company menu.
This brussels sprouts salad is open to interpretation: decrease the ginger if you can’t stand the heat, omit the cilantro and substitute another green herb, use toasted white sesame seeds if you are unable to find black. Cooking is meant to be an adventure, tailored to your tastes, and not a rigid travel itinerary.
Convenience, especially at holiday time and for entertaining with multiple courses, is also the key to your culinary happiness. So save your knuckles and ditch the mandoline for shaving the sprouts and use the shredder attachment of the food processor as I did for this recipe. I don’t mind peeling and seeding pomegranates, but you can now purchase the arils in a cute little cup. If making ginger juliennes gives you pause to reconsider this recipe, by all means chop or grate.
The freshness and crunch of the salad does dictate that quality is best within 24 hours of preparation, but my leftovers, though not as pretty, were very tasty over several days.
This brussels sprout salad may even convert the haters into lovers. Let the cooking adventures begin. Happy holiday dining to you and yours!
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes six to eight servings, more if used as a side dish
one pound brussels sprouts (rinsed and trimmed lightly)
seeds of one medium pomegranate, or one container of packaged arils
one cup of loosely packed coarsely chopped cilantro
¼ cup densely packed fresh ginger, peeled and finely julienned
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
for garnish, black sesame seeds*
*cook’s notes : substitute toasted white sesame seeds if you are unable to find black
- Shred brussels sprouts – easiest is to use shredder disc of food processor, but you can slice thinly or use mandoline.
- Toss brussels sprouts in large mixing bowl with pomegranate seeds, cilantro and ginger.
- Scatter salt and toss lightly.
- Pour sesame oil over mix, then rice vinegar and toss until all combined.
- Adjust salt for taste.
- Garnish as desired with black sesame seeds, and if you have extra, more pomegranate seeds and cilantro leaves.
- Salad is best served within 24 hours.