Citrusy Brussels Sprout Salad

I didn’t always love brussels sprouts. I have memories, like most people I think, of steamed, yellow-green balls of blah. But brussels got a bad rap and they are in fact, incredibly delicious and versatile. You can roast them in EVOO to bring out their naturally nutty flavor. You can caramelize them with balsamic vinegar for a terrifically tangy side dish. But my favorite way to prepare them is to treat them like a salad green. You can shred them up raw and dress them like you would a slaw. Or you can quickly blanch the leaves to give them a toothy but tender bite, which is what I’ve done in the following recipe. I served this recently at our La Jolla store for the La Jolla Gallery & Wine Walk charity event and it was a big hit. This salad makes a great accompaniment to any fall meal but is hearty enough for a light dinner. If you want to beef (or pork) it up a bit, crumbled bits of crisp bacon or pancetta would be a divine addition. Try it out on your pickiest eaters and you’re sure to have a few brussels sprout converts.

Serves 8

Ingredients:

4 cups brussels sprouts, halved, cored, leaves separated
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
¼ cup white Balsamic vinegar *
¾ cup We Olive Meyer Lemon Olive Oil
½ medium head of radicchio, cored and thinly sliced
1 Red Bartlett pear, cored and sliced into thin wedges
Salt and pepper
4 oz. Manchego cheese, shaved
½ cup pecans, toasted
Zest of one lemon and one orange

1. Blanch brussels sprouts in boiling salted water for 30 seconds; drain and immediately transfer to a large bowl of ice water to cool. Spin in a salad spinner to dry leaves (or pat dry with kitchen towels).
2. In a bowl, combine the lemon and orange juice with the vinegar. Slowly whisk in the Meyer Lemon olive oil until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Combine the brussels sprout leaves with the sliced radicchio and pears in a large bowl. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. (Any excess can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Garnish the dressed salad with the shaved Manchego, toasted pecans, and lemon and orange zest. Serve.

Note: *Choose a White Balsamic that has some sweetness to it. We like House of Balsamic’s sweet and tangy Prelibato. If you can’t find it, Chapparal Gardens Winter Ambrosia makes a nice substitute and gives it a hint of fall spice.

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