One of the things that I love most about cooking, is that you never stop learning.
I freelance as a recipe developer which means I get to create and test out different recipes for clients. It’s hard, meticulous work that I find very interesting. Last year it was all about the brussels sprout. I tested what felt like hundreds of recipes, which seriously stunk out my kitchen. It was to the point that when I went out in public, I felt like there was a cloud of green stench wafting behind me (which there probably was). In any event, I learned a lot about these little green baubles…
My new favorite preparation is to shave them.
You can do this with a mandoline, but it’s a lot easier (and faster) if you shred them in a food processor. Some of the leaves will fall off whole, which looks nice in the finished dish as well.
I sauté the sprouts without coloring them too much, just enough to soften them a bit. From there, you can make all kinds of things; brussels sprout pasta with garlic, vegetable spring rolls, slaws, and even add to soups like minestrone. I chose to do a quasi-harvest salad with wild rice and apples. There’s leftover butternut squash in there too, but it’s not essential if you don’t have any (one less thing you have to cook, right?) It’s all about using up what you’ve got.
I serve this warm or at room temperature with a maple-bacon vinaigrette.
- You can shave the brussels sprouts ahead of time by storing them in an air-tight container. Place a paper towel on top to absorb any extra moisture.
- If you have a lemon handy, squeeze some over the apple slices to prevent browning. If you are making this in advance, add the apples and vinaigrette right before serving.
- 1 lb. brussels sprouts
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 2 c. cooked wild rice
- 1 large apple (I used Macoun), thinly sliced*
- ½ c. dried cranberries, chopped
- 1 c. cooked butternut squash (optional)
- 1 lemon
- 4 slices of bacon (I used Applewood smoked bacon)
- 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup + more to taste
- 1 heaped tsp. Dijon mustard
- ½ c. olive oil
- salt & pepper
- For the rice: Cook the wild rice according to the package instructions. Spread out onto a rimmed baking tray to cool. Set aside.
- For the vinaigrette: Combine the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and Dijon mustard in a small bowl. Whisk well to combine. Slowly stream in the olive oil to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper, and add extra maple syrup to taste.
- For the salad: Using a small knife, trim away the ends of each brussels sprout. Any leaves that fall off whole (and are not bruised or damaged), set aside. Process the sprouts in a food processor fitted with the shredder blade. Set aside.
- In a large saute pan, warm a splash of olive oil over moderate heat. Dice the bacon into ½ inch pieces and saute until golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Remove all of the bacon drippings from the pan, reserving 1 tablespoon for the brussels sprouts.
- Add the shredded sprouts, plus any whole leaves to the pan. Saute over medium-low heat until soft, yet not colored, about 5 minutes. Stir frequently.
- Add the shallots and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes or until everything is soft and cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the brussels sprouts to a large bowl.
- Add the rice, apple slices, cranberries and butternut squash (if using).
- Top with the reserved bacon.
- Drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently to combine. Add additional vinaigrette and seasoning as needed.
- Server warm or at room temperature.