We bake a lot of cookies this month. It’s okay. We share. We also compensate by eating Brussels sprouts and kale salad for lunch. Not to punish ourselves, but because it is actually really good. I have a thing for Brussels sprouts because they are essentially miniature cabbages and I have a soft spot for miniatures. But I usually cook them, except for the stray ones I munch on while cleaning the lot, so I was intrigued by this salad recipe. It has been sitting on my Pinterest board for quite some time, patiently waiting for the Brussels sprouts’ season to arrive.
Obviously, cruciferous vegetables are extremely good for you. They are also champion winter garden vegetables, bracing the coldest, snowiest weather and only tasting the better for it. But their taste is not “mild”, the way summer lettuce is. They require assertive dressing that can stand up to their robustness – a dressing with garlic, Dijon mustard and plenty of lemon juice, plus salty pecorino cheese.
We ate this salad for lunch and the amount was about right for the four of us, with just a bit left over for me to enjoy the next day. I am happy to report that my son, who holds some deeply rooted prejudices against many vegetables, actually ate (and liked) this salad.
Lets also not forget that this salad would also make a great side dish at the Christmas table!
I have changed the ratio of kale to sprouts in the recipe in favor of the sprouts. They can be a little tricky to slice, so look at the little trick I suggest bellow.
Brussels sprouts and kale salad
Adapted from Bon appétit
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 small clove of garlic, finely grated
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
juice of half a lemon
¼ tsp salt
fresh ground pepper
60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
150 g (5 ounces) kale, stems removed
250 g (9 ounces) Brussels sprouts
50 g (1/3 cup) almonds
60 g (2 ounces) pecorino, finely grated
To make the dressing, stir together the shallot, garlic, mustard, lemon juice and salt in a small bowl. Let stand for at least 15 minutes, for the shallot to mellow. Whisk in the all the oil except 1 tablespoon which you will need for the almonds. Season with salt and pepper.
Stack the kale leaves, roll them up tightly and slice into thin ribbons. Put the kale into a large bowl. Use your hands to massage the kale leaves. Remove any not-so-good-looking outer leaves from the Brussels sprouts. Slice the Brussels sprouts as thinly as possible. You can either do this on a mandolin or with a sharp knife. If using a knife, I recommend cutting a small slice from the side of a sprout first, so that you have a flat surface to stand it on and it won’t roll away when you try to slice it. Add the shredded sprouts to the kale.
Roughly chop the almonds. Take 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and heat it in a skillet. Add the almonds and roast them, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Transfer the almonds to a plate lined with a paper towel (the paper towel will absorb excess oil). Sprinkle almonds lightly with salt.
Add the dressing and grated pecorino to the kale mixture and use your hands to “massage” the greens – it makes them more tender and enjoyable. Sprinkle the almonds on top before serving.