Stopped at the grocery this afternoon thinking I would just pick up a bottle of wine and some sort of veggie for dinner since I had everything else I needed to throw together a meal. Instead, I saw what I’ve been waiting for all summer. There they were…brussel sprouts.
A whole stack of those baby cabbage head-wrapped stalks was right in front of me. Eyes wide, I stared in disbelief for a moment and then, suddenly, I wanted to wield one in each hand and run around the store exclaiming, “THE BRUSSELS ARE HERE. THE BRUSSELS ARE HERE.” I suppressed that urge and picked out just one stalk and put it in my cart.
I knew instantly what I was going to make, so I added pomegranate, Meyer lemon, shallots, garlic, pecans, bacon, cheese, and yogurt to the buggy. Grabbed a bottle of wine and headed home to start on my favorite ever salad–raw brussel salad with a citrus shallot dressing.
This is a salad I devour throughout the brussel sprout season. I seem to never tire of it and with a few variations, it’s kept fresh. This one also pairs well with different main courses or by itself for lunch.
Start with the dressing. Extra virgin olive oil and plain
greek yogurt form the base to carry the flavors of the Meyer lemon, chopped garlic and shallot, honey and whole sprigs of fresh thyme. I prepare this first so those flavors can meld together before adding to the salad. I like looking at the pretty levels of colors that form in the jar before it’s shaken up. But you gotta shake it. Shake it real good. Then set aside in the fridge, drop the bacon in the frying pan, and get to the tedious part of the process.
Chopping. Chop, chop, chop it up, people. This is a raw brussel salad, so the little heads must be popped off the stalk, outside leaves removed, and then chopped finely to a shredded lettuce texture. It takes about 30-40 brussels depending on the size. The stalk I brought home had medium to small heads on it, so I actually ended up using about 45-50. That’s a lot of chopping, but I love working with a good knife. It’s meditative. Once they’re shredded, cover them with cold water and let soak while you prepare the pecans and pomegranate.
Pomegranates are another delight of the season for me. I eat a lot of them while they’re available. Now that I’ve learned the way to get the seeds out easily, I love them even more. For appearances, they add that pop of vibrant red to liven up the salad, but they also bring a unique texture and taste to the table. I used a heaping cup full of those beauties.
At that point, the brussels were strained, rinsed one more time, and then spread out on kitchen towels. While they were drying, I prepared about 3/4 cup of chopped pecans, shredded some pecorino medoro, and cut the cooked bacon.
Thrown together, the flavors, textures, and colors create a scrumptious salad for the season and it’s quite lovely to look at as well…
I hope you all enjoy this seasonal salad as much as I do! I’ve included substitution options in the ingredient list which include a vegetarian way.
I’d love to hear about your own variations and how they worked out.
One shallot chopped
Fresh thyme leaves
Garlic, small clove
Meyer lemons, juice of two lemons
Extra virgin olive oil, about 1/2 cup
Plain Greek yogurt, 2 heaping tablespoons
Honey, 1 heaping tablespoon
salt & pepper to taste
Brussel sprouts, about 3 1/2-4 cups chopped
Half to 3/4 of a pomegranate (or substitute one package of low-sugar craisins)
Bacon, 4 slices (or substitute pistachios for that salty, “meaty” flavor)
Pecans, 3/4-1 cup (or walnuts if you prefer)
Pecorino cheese, 1/2 cup shredded (I’ve also used goat cheese and it was very good)