If there’s one thing we all know about brussel sprouts, it’s that kids and many adults hate them. Like with a passion. When I mentioned this seemingly universal brussel sprout hate to a recent cooking class, they all agreed. In fact, many of them had a look of disgust on their faces at the mere mention of the dreaded sprout. Why all the hate? What did the brussel sprout ever do to you?
Luckily, I don’t remember ever being served brussel sprouts as a kid. They were quite possibly out of our single parent canned peas income. It was not until well into my 20s that I ventured into the much feared brussel sprout land. My best guess as to the reason behind all the hate is that kids the world over were, and I’m certain still are, being served over cooked brussel sprouts. Mushy, smelly brussel sprouts. It’s no wonder they’ve gotten such a bad rep.
But the crazy thing is, brussel sprouts are awesome. I’m a huge fan. I even get excited the moment they start to hit market shelves in the Fall. It’s not uncommon to see sprouts on our plates the entire season, usually sautéed simply with bacon and garlic. Yeah, yeah bacon makes everything better. Tell that to the haters. Even without bacon, it’s all in the cooking. When roasted or fried til just tender crisp, you allow the brussel sprout to shine.
Last weekend our pal Sheena brought over a brussel sprout salad that had us falling in love with sprouts all over again. Thinly shaved raw brussel sprouts, pork belly, walnuts, and Dragon’s Breath blue cheese provided all the convincing. It was legit. I had forgotten all about eating those suckers raw but since they’re related to cabbage, there’s no reason not to. Plus cabbage is god damn healthy. You got a problem with that?
This salad, like most salads, is mad easy and highly adaptable. I used hazelnuts and some of the same That Dutchman’s Dragon’s Breath, an incredible local blue cheese that is oddly not blue. Use whatever nuts and cheese you got. You can even throw in some dried cranberries or thinly sliced apple. Your call. Just be prepared to forget everything you thought you knew and let brussel sprouts show you what they’re made of.
- 12 brussel sprouts
- 4 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
- 1/3 cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon whole grain dijon
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Cook bacon until crisp. Drain and set aside.
- Whisk together dressing ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Clean and trim brussel sprouts. Shave thinly using a mandolin, food processor, or knife. Combine brussel sprouts with dressing. Top with nuts, bacon and cheese.