brussels sprout caesar salad

Brussels are the King of vegetables in our house. If it’s a Brussels night, it doesn’t even matter what else we’re eating, it will be a treat. Every time I eat them I think one lifetime is not long enough to enjoy eating Brussels sprouts, especially roasted.

This is the type of recipe that, when I first made it, I emailed a few friends about and said, You have to try this. The type we put on the menu again the following week and the week after that. The type of recipe you don’t want to waste on someone who wouldn’t appreciate all its garlicky glory (sorry, but it’s true. Before you think too badly of us, we did muster enough selflessness to bring it to a friend’s house for a Christmas potluck). It’s not even a recipe so much as another way to put crispy, salty roasted vegetables over cool, crunchy greens.

brussels sprout caesar salad
adapted from Honest Cooking and La Buena Vida
makes 4 entree servings

We usually make sourdough croutons (heavy on the garlic) and add raw Parmesan to this, but didn’t this time since we’re avoiding grains and most dairy. I included my very unscientific method for the croutons below because if you can eat bread, you should eat it this way. You can also leave half the sprouts raw and toss them in the salad at the end–I promise it’s good. This time I was so excited about eating roasted Brussels for dinner that I forgot all about leaving some out.

salad:
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and cut into quarters
coconut oil
sea salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 handfuls of spinach, torn
1/4 cup raw Parmesan, grated, optional

croutons, optional:
a large hunk of sourdough bread, cubed
coconut oil, melted (I usually put a spoonful or so in a glass measuring cup and set it on the enamel part of our stove with one of the burners on rather than put it in the microwave. We quit the microwave.)
sea salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
raw Parmesan, grated, optional

dressing:
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
sea salt and pepper
raw Parmesan, optional
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread sprouts in a single layer on a pan (or two, if you need to) and add a small spoonful of coconut oil. Roast for five minutes, then stir the sprouts until each is covered in the melted oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic; return to the oven to roast for another 20 minutes or until the sprouts brown and shrivel into goodness. (Note: When I make this without the croutons, I use about two pinches of salt for the sprouts. Otherwise, one hearty pinch is plenty for me.)

Toss the bread cubes with enough coconut oil to make the salt and pepper stick. For me, that’s usually just under 1/4 cup melted oil for a huge batch of croutons that will last us the next week or two. Add the salt (we usually grind our sea salt by hand in a mini mortar and pestle–I’m not even kidding–but we like to leave it in larger flakes for these), pepper, garlic, and cheese if you’re using it; toss. Spread in a single layer on a pan and add to the oven for the last 10 or so minutes of the sprout roasting. The goal is to get the edges of the croutons crunchy with the centers soft enough to be chewy.

While the sprouts and croutons are roasting and toasting, make the dressing. Whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, mustard, and salt and pepper. Grate a little Parmesan in if you like. Pour the olive oil in a small stream while you vigorously whisk. I love this part of making dressing. Start with 1/3 cup olive oil and increase if you need more or want to cut the garlic. Taste and adjust seasonings. We like it best when it hits you first with saltiness followed by strong garlic, and finished with the bite of lemon. That usually means we need a little more lemon to quell the garlic. Because we never use less garlic.

To serve, place the spinach in a bowl and top with the roasted Brussels (and raw if you remembered to leave some out) and a big handful of croutons. I let each person add his or her own dressing because it’s really strong.

P.S. This recipe…so chatty! The less precisely I cook, the more I talk about it. It’s hard to verbalize (my meager) cooking intuition. Maybe you should come over and I’ll make it with you? Call me.

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