Last week was the first week we brought Brussel Sprouts to the market. It’s hard to find a vegetable that creates quite the same buzz, both positive an negative. It’s an old family joke. My dad hates sprouts so much, my mom never looks at them, let alone bring them into the kitchen. Needless to say, I didn’t have my first Brussel sprout experience until I was an adult.
First go-round, I just sliced them in half and put them in a pan with a roasting chicken. Whoa, new favorite food! They sucked up the chicken juices and caramelized where they contacted the pan. Wow. My poor dad. My poor MOM! Such a sacrifice.
Having enjoyed a raw kale salad over and over this past summer, this recipe caught my eye. All the comments raved, which is not the case for most of the recipes I look at, controversial vegetable or not. Before I got a chance to try it, we had them at the market and I mentioned it to a customer. The woman standing next to her had just eaten a raw sprout salad in Napa at a fancy restaurant from a fancy chef. She was buying two baskets. Her memory of the fantabulous salad included a citrus vinaigrette and prosciutto. May this one is a base from which I invite you to spring.
Raw Sprout Salad serves 4
1 lb. brussel sprouts
2 cups toasted walnut halves
1/3 cup grated pecorino, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
Juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
Working over a large bowl, shave brussel sprouts into very thin slices on a mandoline, starting from each sprout’s top while holding it between thumb and forefinger by its stem. Discard stems.
Add walnuts, pecorino, olive oil, lemon juice, and black pepper to taste. Depending on the saltiness of the cheese, season lightly with salt to taste.
Toss with a spoon until just combined and divide salad between 4 bowls or small plates. Using a peeler, shave more pecorino over the top; drizzle with more olive oil and add more
pepper to taste.