Brussels Sprout Salad

Everyone knows Brussels sprouts are really baby cabbages. Just like all baby vegetables the flavor is a bit more pronounced then the big boy grown up version. Not as much water and seeds to dilute the taste. Brussels sprouts are no different. One of the cute things we fancy cooking people like to do is put a  twist on a classic. Ratatouille made with whole roasted baby vegetables, petite eggs Benedict made with quail eggs and mini English muffins or a baby lettuce salad. Who knew there was so much food money in babies, besides Jonathan Swift of course.

I tried making baby stuffed cabbage but my fingers are out of practice. Back in the day I'm pretty sure I could have rolled a mean baby stuffed cabbage. Next was  the traditional boiled dinner with baby baby potatoes, teeny tiny carrots, mini corned beef and and my baby boiled cabbage aka Brussel sprouts. It reminded me of a slogan from the nouvelle cuisine days. "Children's portions at adult prices".

How about a version of coleslaw, that should work. I sliced the Brussels sprouts nice and thin with my mad knife skills. Soaked them in some salted water and covered them with a warm dressing. Breezy easy and you really don't need many sprouts so the slicing goes pretty quick. You could use a thin slicing blade on your food processor and get good results.

Here's a blow by blow of how it went down in the AgaKitchen.

  • 12 oz Brussels sprouts sliced thin
  • 4 oz thick cut bacon julienne*
  • 3 shallots or half a small red onion julienne
  • 1 clove garlic smashed
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit chopped small, I used cranberries
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 T Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
  • salt & peppa

Boil 1 cup of water with 4 Tablespoons salt. Add one cup water to the salted water and pour into a bowl large enough to hold the sliced cabbage and the water/brine. Put the cabbage in the bowl and press down so it's all covered.

Crisp the bacon on a stove top stirring often or in the Roasting Oven for about 7 minutes if you are in the know and own an Aga.

Remove crisped bacon from fat, sweat shallot/onion in reserved bacon drippings. Add garlic, dried fruit, olive oil and Balsamic, let simmer for a minute. Remove from heat and add cider vinegar.

Drain the purged sprouts and squeeze as much excess water from them as you can. Toss with the dressing, add the reserved bacon, taste and season, taste and season, then taste and season one more time to be sure.

We had it over baked haddock with small dice of parsley potatoes and tomato sauce. Works well as a little canapé or on a bed of greens. Try it tossed with cannelloni beans over pasta.

* Garbage in, garbage out. Not all bacon is created equally. Spend the money and buy the good stuff. That factory farmed, water pumped and smoke seasoned bacon is truly a mystery meat. Better yet, raise a pig and smoke your own.

Cook like you mean it, peace, G