Being single with no family nearby puts a damper on the holidays for me, but my friend Christina invited me to join her and her hubby for Thanksgiving (thank you!). We were making two stops with dinner much later in the day. A vegetable was needed and I had just reposted my Brussels Sprouts Salad with Prosciutto and Sage from a few years ago on my Facebook fan page. Brussels sprouts were on my mind, and I wanted to come up with something new for this party.
It helped that my sister had visited a few days prior to Thanksgiving and she gave me the most wonderful ‘sister’ gift — a 14 cup Cuisinart food processor. Sis and I played a lot in the kitchen while she was here, and she noticed a few gaping holes in my inventory of tools. I haven’t owned a food processor in over three years (somehow the ex got custody of it, go figure) and I have been hand chopping absolutely everything. Some of that, though, had to do with wanting to keep my knife skills sharp, pardon the pun, and the other reason was that these machines aren’t cheap.
How could I employ my new toy with Brussels sprouts? I put the Cuisinart to work and shredded two pounds of Brussels sprouts in less than two minutes. Is it okay to say I was having a bit of an “O” moment in the kitchen? If I’d had 10 pounds of Brussels sprouts I’m confident I would have done all of them just because that machine was so fun. Pulse. Stop. Pulse. Stop. PULSE PULSE. Stop. and Admire.
This slaw can be made several hours in advance and makes a terrific contribution to a potluck, especially if you aren’t eating right away. The sprouts actually taste better the longer they sit in the dressing. White balsamic vinegar, hazelnut oil, and whole grain mustard are offset by a generous dose of honey. Hazelnuts would be lovely, in lieu of almonds, but I dread dealing with removing the skins.
It was one of my best Thanksgivings ever. A beautiful loft in downtown Denver overlooking the city, a thoughtful host and hostess, old friends and new, at least 20 candles contributing to the mood, Pandora streaming on the sound system, and clusters of conversation in every room. Despite being a cold dish, the Christmas-y colored salad of ruby red, green and white went perfectly next to the juicy turkey with its crispy skin (kudos Emily!), garlic mashed potatoes, creamy and herbacious gravy, fresh green beans with a real onion topping, and marsala mushrooms. Not a can to be found, anywhere. This was real food.
3/4 cup sliced almonds (or hazelnuts), toasted
2 lbs Brussels sprouts, chiffonade*
1 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries (Archer Farms® Montmorency Cherries** are excellent)
1 cup freshly grated Parmigianno Reggiano
1/2 cup hazelnut oil
6 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
4 Tablespoons honey, or more to taste
2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
Flakey sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
- Toast the almonds in a 350° oven for 9-10 minutes or until golden.
- Cut off about 1/4″ of the bottoms of the Brussels sprouts. Discard bruised leaves. The best chiffonade will be achieved using the narrowist, single blade attachment of your food processor. If cutting by hand, slice the sprouts in half first, then lay them flat side down before cutting into fine ribbons of 1/4″ thick or less.
- Combine the nuts, sprouts, cherries and cheese.
- Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing. Taste as you go and add more honey or vinegar to your liking.
- Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss.
- Season with flakey sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Garnish the surface with more Parmigiano Reggiano just before serving.
*chiffonade: a French term used in connection with leafy herbs and vegetables (cabbages and lettuce) that are sliced into delicate thin strips.
** Target carries the Archer Farms® dried cherries in the baking section.