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Do you Brussel Sprout?

February 22, 2014

Warm Brussel Salad with Hazelnuts & Asparagus

Warm Brussel Salad with Hazelnuts & Asparagus

Apologies for the sub par photo but every time I make this salad it gets eaten up tout de suite and I really wanted to share it with you.

This salad takes green vegetables, uncommonly used in salads, and  transforms them into a filling green medley that works as a stand alone meal.

Brussel sprouts are much maligned due to the grey and tasteless offerings most people experienced from childhood. It seems that everyone had a Nan or Mum who boiled the c*%p out of them as a matter of routine. You either love ’em or hate ’em with most just preferring to avoid them!

But they are making a comeback into fashion! I know this because when I bought some recently they were $10 per kilo at the supermarket! Supply & demand! Admittedly, it is summer and they are a winter vegetable but food miles withstanding, surely this is outrageous for a vegetable renowned as a cheap tummy filler.

But I had been recently reminded of the vegetable after ordering a side dish of Brussels sprouts in a trendy restaurant and being extremely disappointed. Yes, they were overcooked and grey and flaccid! Surely this can’t be right? We sent them back wondering if the chef had made a mistake or whether he didn’t realise that Brussels sprouts are indeed, delicious undercooked, crunchy and even RAW!

Brussels sprouts are of the same cruciferous family as cabbage, broccoli, kale, and kohlrabi. They contain vitamins A, C, folic acid and lots of fibre. Like broccoli, they contain compounds (sulforaphane  and indole-3-carbinol), which are believed to have potent anticancer properties.

I like to prepare them by cutting off the stalk and taking off the outer dark leaves, then halving them. They are fabulous shredded finely and made into a coleslaw too.

Sauté them over a high heat to get some caramelisation going then turn the heat down to barely cook them through. They should retain their bright green colour and still have some crunch.

In this salad, I have paired them with some just-blanched asparagus and soft goats cheese which adds a sweet & salty dimension. The hazelnut oil can be substituted with olive oil but it really complements the sprouts well – use it if you can.

You may discover that you love Brussels spouts after all!

250g small Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 tab butter or olive oil
1 large potato or swede, peeled & cut into 2cm cubes
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
4 eggs
50g soft goats cheese or feta
70g toasted hazelnuts, chopped coarsely
50g lemon juice
3 tabs hazelnut oil
1 teas red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/2 teas salt
1 tab chopped fresh dill
pepper to taste
Put the potato & eggs in the steamer basket of the TM and steam over 400g water for 18 minutes. While they are cooking, mix up the dressing ingredients in a jar.
Remove the steamer basket and check the potato is tender. Refresh the eggs under cold water. 
Pour the boiling water from the TM over the asparagus to blanch lightly. In a bowl, pour the half the dressing over the hot potato to marinate.
Sauté the sprouts in the butter over a high heat to caramelise. Turn the heat down and continue to stir-fry until just cooked through.
When cool enough, peel the eggs and quarter. Assemble the salad on a wide plate with the vegetables on the bottom and eggs and goats cheese crumbled on top. Sprinkle with the hazelnuts and add enough dressing to taste. 


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