This is all about Brussel sprouts. I know that they aren’t a lot of people’s favourite vegetable. Big love to those people who are fans, I like to think we are very sophisticated! Haha not so much me. They are a seasonal and affordable vegetable for winter so that makes them worthy of my attention and despite the cold sometimes I still need something fresh, raw and crunchy in the winter. I think that there is enough flavour and good things in these salads for even the most hardened sprout haters and I would love it if you would give them a go.
I have been playing with these two salads using Brussel Sprouts this winter and even though I am hopeful that spring and its new vegetables are nearly with us I don’t want to forget these winners of this winter.
I hope that you will give these a try, but if your thoughts have moved on from winter vegetables (yes I know me too), we will have these recorded now for next winter and I will remind us of them then. Having said that they are still good eaten simply as is for lunch or for a meatier meal team well with pork. Think about quality pork sausages or chops and mash, or a juicy pulled pork slider or simply as a side at a barbecue. Both of these salads taste equally good the next day, even the apple will keep its colour, flavour and texture if passed through the salted acidulated water.
Brussel Sprout, Crisp Apple Hazelnut and Pecorino or parmesan Cheese
Small bag of Brussel sprouts (approx. 20)
- 2 crisp red apples (red gives a nice bit of colour)
- ½ cup hazelnuts lightly toasted
- Approx 100gms Pecorino or Parmesan cheese*
- Tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon favourite mustard
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 tablespoons mild olive oil
- Salt and pepper
In a large bowl whisk ingredients for your vinaigrette, taste this and adjust seasonings to taste. I think it is important when making dressings for these hearty salads that the dressing is highly seasoned and quite sharp otherwise its flavour is lost once everything is mixed together.
Fill a medium bowl half full with water and add tsp of vinegar and ¼ tsp salt.
Finely slice your apples and mix in acidulated water so all surfaces are covered, this will prevent the apples from browning.
Clean and take brown ends off your Brussel sprouts and finely chop (I put mine through the slicer blade on the food processor) then add to the large bowl with your vinaigrette in.
Grate your cheese (I like pecorino and think it adds bigger flavour but Ed is not a fan of sheep or goat cheese so I use parmesan for him – up to you and being practical what you have in the fridge) Add to salad bowl.
Lightly toast hazelnuts then roughly chop and add to salad
Drain your apples and add to bowl
Mix everything together well, taste and adjust seasoning if you think necessary. Sometimes depending on the apples you may want to add a bit more vinegar to lift the taste. Pecorino is saltier than parmesan so you will need less salt if using this.
The next salad is starting to feel a bit more like spring
Brussel Sprout, Fennel, Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad
First for the vinaigrette
- ¼ cup orange juice
- juice of half a lemon
- tsp mild honey
- tsp Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
Mix all together in a large bowl (this needs to be large enough to toss all the ingredients together in). Check seasoning, you want this to have strong sweet sour savoury flavours and this can vary depending on the juices and honey on the day so be prepared to adjust as necessary.
- Approx 20 brussel sprouts cleaned and trimmed
- 2 medium heads of fennel
- 2 oranges
- handful of mesculin (optional)
- handful walnut pieces
- 100gms creamy Blue vein cheese I used Windsor Blue
Using a sharp knife or your food processor finely slice both the Brussel Sprouts and the fennel. Add these to your vinaigrette.
Take the skin of the oranges and cut into small dice, you can be as fussy as you like with this, as long as you don’t have lots of white pith spoiling the look and taste of your salad, add to salad bowl.
Cut your blue cheese into smallish bite sized pieces and add to salad.
Toss walnut pieces into salad (I don’t toast these as I like the waxy crunch of fresh winter walnuts in this salad)
Before tossing put aside a few pieces of fennel walnut and blue cheese for garnish if you like.
Mix altogether well then fold through mesculin if using, and garnish with bits you set aside