I was lying in bed the other night trying to fall asleep, when I came up with an idea for a shaved Brussels sprout salad. This is a great no cook way to use Brussels sprouts throughout the winter months. Just as when roasted, raw Brussels sprouts scream for bacon and Dijon.
Shaving raw Brussels sprouts on a mandoline sheds new light on these little green buggers. After all, it's boring preparing vegetables in the same way all season long. Shredding makes them surprisingly tender, too. I was surprised to find that they didn't taste at all bitter when eaten raw. I think a nice sharp vinaigrette goes well with this salad; it's bright and refreshing.
It goes without saying that you need to watch your fingers while shredding the Brussels sprouts. Usually I prefer the tender mini sprouts I get at the farmer's market, but in the interest of your fingers, it's much easier and safer to seek out larger ones. Feel free to shred them a day in advance and store in a plastic zip-top bag in the fridge. Toss with the dressing just prior to serving, sprinkle with bacon, cheese and voila!
RAW BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD WITH MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE
For the dressing:
1/2 a shallot, minced
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 1/2 to 3 tbsp. Champagne or white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. Dijon or whole grain mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
For the salad:
1 lb. Brussels sprouts (the larger the better for ease in shredding)
3 to 4 strips thick cut bacon
Ribbons of Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
In a small mixing bowl, combine the shallot, lemon juice, vinegar, and sea salt. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes to allow the shallots to absorb the vinegar.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet. Let cool and break into large pieces. Set aside. Carefully shred the Brussels sprouts on a mandoline, discarding the root end. Set aside.
Whisk the Dijon or whole grain mustard into the shallots and vinegar until smooth and creamy. Pour in the olive oil and whisk until the dressing is emulsified and slightly thick. Season with freshly ground black pepper and more salt to taste. In a large bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with the vinaigrette. Sprinkle each serving with bacon and using a paring knife or vegetable peeler, garnish each plate with ribbons of Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese.
Yield: 2 to 4 servings