Monday, February 17, 2014

Shaved Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

Using seasonal vegetables is a great thing, and the even better news is that there are such things as winter vegetables. Perhaps the variety isn't as great, and the colors aren't as flashy as those vegetables in other seasons, but they do exist.

As it so happens, vegetables belonging to the cabbage family fit the bill.
Those cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale...) can certainly be grown year-round, but are sweeter in flavor when harvested during cooler months.

Things like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts definitely have a solid place in the winter vegetable canon, there's no denying it.

Semi-conversely, I'm not so sure about Brussels sprouts in July- they just don't sound as appetizing (yes, we're all aware that some would say they never sound appetizing).
The same goes for that dark green, plastic/rubbery looking leaf that's so wonderfully put to use by caterers to beautify trays and in buffets (it hides the crushed ice so well). Yes, it's kale, and it is edible- unless it really is the faux kale and truly made of plastic (officially inedible, or at least not very good for you).

The raw texture of kale and Brussels sprouts is hearty, not delicate, and they can withstand some strong flavor combinations well without being overpowered themselves.

Bite from mustard, zip from lemon, fruity green from good olive oil, while the vegetables are more of an earthy green- especially when raw.
Parmesan adds a bit of creamy nuttiness.

One really nice feature about this particular recipe is that the salad can be made in advance. In fact, it's good the day after it's put together. How many salads can you say that about?

I didn't toss them in this last time, but I think I would really enjoy this salad with a nice handful of toasted pine nuts.

If looking to make this a complete meal, perhaps consider adding a poached or hardboiled egg.

Raw Shaved Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad
based on a Saveur recipe
serves 6

1 lb (about 450 g) Brussels sprouts
1 bunch lacinato kale (maybe 15 leaves)
1 medium garlic clove, minced
finely grated zest of 1 lemon 
4 T (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 T (27 g) whole-grain mustard
1/2 c (120 ml) good extra-virgin olive oil
coarse salt (maybe kosher or grey salt)
freshly ground black pepper
fresh Parmesan, shaved with a vegetable peeler

Wash the kale and brussels sprouts. 
Remove the stem from the center of each leaf of kale and cut about 1 cm wide on the diagonal so you have rough ribbons. Place the kale in a large bowl and set aside. 
Thinly slice the Brussels sprouts (with mandolin or a knife) from top to bottom, holding each sprout by the stem end. Discard the stems and place the sliced Brussels sprouts in the bowl along with the kale ribbons. 

Make garlic paste by sprinkling a moderate pinch of coarse salt over the minced garlic on a cutting board. Using broad knife, smash and scrape the garlic and salt, dragging the side of the knife across it several times with some force until you have achieved a uniform paste. 
Place the garlic paste in a large bowl along with the lemon zest and juice and mustard. Whisk to combine. While whisking continuously, add the olive oil in a slow stream until all has been added and the dressing is emulsified. 

To the dressing bowl, add the shaved greens. Toss several times to coat with the mustard dressing then taste. Season with salt and pepper as desired, toss again thoroughly and taste again (and season again as necessary). 

Mound the salads on individual plates and sprinkle with shards of shaved Parmesan cheese. 


  1. Some of those frizzly Brussels make me want to get out my good knife and start shaving. Great pictures!

  2. and I like the way you show haw to make a paste out of the garlic...

  3. Replies
    1. If I want a salad, I want a good salad!