I don’t know about you, but I am a HUGE fan of brussels and can not believe that I despised these cute mini cabbage- like veggies as a child. Like most ingredients, I am always trying to come up with new ways to incorporate and transform them in a dish. This recipe is simply a metamorphosis of a classic recipe of one of my favorite salads; The Caesar. The Caesar dressing recipe I have shared is a pretty traditional one (with the anchovies and egg yolk and all) and I definitely encourage you to give it a shot. But hey, you may have your own recipe you love or have a favorite store bought dressing which is a possibility as well. Instead of crutons, the toasted panko crumbs are a nice little addition and of course you can not forget the grated/shaved pecorino romano (do yourself a favor and buy a nice quality cheese here). A little crushed black pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt (hmmmm maybe even some pink Himilayan) and you have yourself a fabulous “salad”. I personally think it would be a hit at a holiday party or dinner. If you are bringing to a gathering probably best to dress and garnish the “salad” right before serving.
A quick side note here. You do not have to be super fancy or elaborate to be a good cook and it is not rocket science to create a tasty dish. Honestly, all you need is a little know how of technique and more importantly….QUALITY INGREDIENTS. Any experienced cook knows that fresh, seasonal, quality ingredients do not need much help, they are just dandy standing on their own or if anything, may need a little help in building more flavor. For example, in this recipe, I high recommend a good quality olive oil (first, cold pressed, or organic is superb), some nice sea salt (perhaps Himalayan) and a good quality cheese. Although quality is sometimes reflective in the price of the product, this is not necessarily the case. A little research and some trial and error is always good and keep tasting, let your palate be the judge!
Brussel Sprouts Caesar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling plus about 1/4 cup
2 pints large Brussels sprouts, about 2 pounds
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
2 cloves garlic cloves pounded to a puree
About 1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste or 2 anchovies
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg yolk 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Using a small, sharp knife, core the Brussels sprouts and separate leaves. Salt water and add all of the baby cabbage leaves to pot – you should have at least 6 cups loosely packed. Blanch leaves for a minute or two, drain and allow to cool (can incorporate an ice bath here as well).
Combine red wine vinegar, the juice of 1 lemon, pureed garlic, anchovy paste, lots of black pepper and about 1/4 cup of EVOO to a bowl and whisk to make dressing. Add a small handful of cheese once dressing is emulsified. Whisk into dressing 1 egg yolk (there is a food safety risk with this addition, of course, but this is the traditional way of the preparation and well I’m still alive).
Heat butter in small skillet with crushed garlic over medium heat, add breadcrumbs and toast to golden brown.
Toss Brussels greens with dressing. Serve on plates , garnish with more cheese, buttery breadcrumbs and cracked black pepper.