Raw everything is all the rage these days, and shaved brussel sprout salad is so in vogue. I get a huge belly shake of laughter seeing how vegetables are taking center stage, becoming mega stars in a social media video blitzkrieg. It is about time that vegetables got their due. For too long now, bacon and butter have dominated the stage, whoa-ing audiences with their fatty appeal. I am glad to see these vibrant, nutrient packed edibles get their trophies. That said, enough with cauliflower pizza making. I’m wheat and yeast free and can tell you NOTHING replaces a yeast rising doughy bite!! Move over cauliflower because Brussel Sprouts will soon have their own youTube channel!!
This veggie craze is a good thing. I've been doing it for awhile now. Which is why it's funny that years ahead of the raw craze and fascination with vegetables I served a shaved broccoli and brussel sprout salad. My attempt back then was almost successful. I say almost because I served it without testing it first. (As usual, but the no testing in this case didn't serve me well.) I didn't quite realize just how intense, sometimes bitter these greens can be when served raw. I can't even remember what dressing I used, but I can attest that I didn't finesse them enough. What a novice! I've learned a thing or two.
My recent lure back to raw brussels came when my friend, Tecla, and I were enjoying each other's company for lunch at Lure, and we ordered a shaved brussel sprout salad. We did so to be healthy knowing that we would be consume some Rosé wine and a few other items with a higher calorie count. Yes, that's what ladies who lunch do. The salad was good. But it awoke a definite redemption itch in me. I needed to conquer this salad on my own terms ensuring that I calm it's intense flavors and cox it's crispy freshness to palates far and wide.
The opportunity was ripe when I bought a bunch of enormous brussel sprouts from the new organic market by our house. Alas, I ran out of time to make them before we left on our trip to Miami. So what did I do?? NO, I didn't throw them away. No, I didn't give them away, as it was too early in the morning to call anyone. So, I did the next best thing. I packed them in Juan Carlos' bag!
Once in Miami, more good fortune came my way. On our way to Key Largo we happened upon a farmer's market with glorious produce. Even though we only had a few more days in Miami, I HAD to buy some. So I picked up the biggest radishes I'd ever seen (and a few other items including the sweetest cantaloupe ever).
As I cut the brussel sprouts, I knew I wanted to add more than what I've seen in other sprout salads including the one at Lure. Since I had those radishes they got shaved in. With these two intense flavors some sweetness was in tall order. Call upon the carrot to do what it does best, add sweetness. Grated that up, added scallions and red onion, some chopped parsley for that earthy herb note, and for another crisp and refreshing bite I added some celery.
The salad at Lure was just brussel sprouts and pine nuts with a creamy dressing. But JC can't eat dairy, plus I didn't have anything like that in our Miami fridge. Also, I really felt that this salad needed to be fresh and bright with a hint a sweetness. Orange was my answer.
Here's the nuts and bolts of this recipe.
8 c brussel sprouts, shaved
2 c carrot, shredded
3/4 c radishes, shredded
2 c celery, shaved or sliced thinly
3/4 c red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 c scallion, sliced
1/3 c fresh parsley, chopped
2 oranges, segmented (blood orange if you can find it)
2/3 c juice of an orange
2 T lime juice
2 t balsamic vinegar
2/3 c Olive oil
Prep all your vegetables as noted above. I used a mandolin on the sprouts, the onion and celery. I used a box grater for the radishes and carrot. If you don't have, or don't feel comfortable with a mandolin then simply thinly slice the vegetables.
Place all the cut vegetables in a large serving bowl and set as you prepare the dressing.
Segment the orange. As I mentioned, I was fortunate to find blood oranges but you can use a perfectly good navel orange. As you cut the segments, do this over a bowl so you can catch any of the juices that may drip down. Squeeze whatever juice you can get out of the pulp. You will most likely need one whole orange to get 2/3 of a cup. Whisk together all the remaining ingredients and pour over the salad, tossing thoroughly. Add the orange segments to the top and serve. This salad is best when it is dressed at least 15-20 minutes prior to serving.
When I made this salad in Miami, I didn't think of using orange segments in the salad, just the juice. Mostly because I only had one orange and that got all squeezed up for the juice. This time around back in NY I found blood oranges and had that aha moment. When I cut them open and saw the ruby red glory, I knew these needed top the salad and shine their unique sweetness on this salad.
I must say, and my niece, Gianna, will confirm these added a great, bright burst of flavor. You don't really need me to list the pairing suggestions for this one, but here is a photo of who my sister, Alyssa, served it when I brought the salad to her house.