Oh, Brother {brussels sprouts salad}

If there’s one thing you should know about my brother, it is that he has deep and abiding love of Brussels sprouts. While I wouldn’t necessarily say that he is defined by his affection for the diminutive cabbages, I would attest that there is seldom a day that passes when he isn’t eating – or thinking about eating – the cruciferous treats.

His first, and only trip outside of the North American continent, was a pilgrimage to Brussels, Belgium, in search of the birthplace of the eponymous sprout. Some have said that this was a bit extreme but extreme is his middle name. He legally changed it from Charles in the mid-90’s. In his Belgian travel journal, the pages are worn from overuse as he often revisits some of the memories of his trip, most of which are detailed accounts of Brussels sprouts eaten and seen.

Imagine my surprise when last week, during our weekly FaceTime call, the king of all things tiny, round and green, asked little old me for a new recipe for Brussels sprouts. To say I was flattered is an understatement. I immediately referenced my roasted Brussels sprouts – too cliché and of course, overdone. Creamed Brussels sprouts came to mind – enough! If he wanted a list of recipes he’s used in the past week, he wouldn’t have called. Eschewing thoughts of the oven or the stove, I dug deep and finally realized a cold sprout recipe was the answer.

I knew just the one: Hugh Acheson’s “A New Turn in the South” held the cure for what ailed me.

My brother’s query came at an opportune time as many a Thanksgiving table is set with heaping platters of Brussels sprouts, tantalizingly steaming while mothers swat away swiping children’s hands from taking their share too early. This year, why not serve your sprouts cold?

If you don’t have Hugh’s book, and you should, here’s what you’ll need to make shaved Brussels sprouts salad with Dijon vinaigrette:

  • 1 quart Brussels sprouts, trimmed and shaved
  • 1 cup roasted pecan halves, broken up
  • 1 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper for everyone

Trim your Brussels sprouts by removing the tough bottom part and peeling back the outside leaves until you reveal a tightly wrapped, clean green bundle of deliciousness.

Slice the sprout down the middle so it doesn’t roll around and thinly slice so that you end up with what looks like miniature cole slaw mixture.

Toast your pecans over low heat in a dry saucepan and shave or grate the cheese. I used a veggie peeler on the Parmigiano.

Combine the sprouts, pecans, cheese and the loosely chopped parsley in a bowl. In a small jar, add the mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, chopped parsley and salt and pepper. Shake.

Pour the vinaigrette over the sprout mixture and toss.

Serve immediately or sooner if you can.

Oh, and all that stuff about my brother? Lies. He detests Brussels sprouts. Loathes.