mistakenly maligned January 27, 2011

As a child growing up, we ate a lot of vegetables in our house whether they made sense or not. Meals always included some sort of salad – in those days, a small side plate of sliced tomatoes with Good Seasons Italian dressing (remember the cruet – I still love that stuff) certainly qualified as a salad. Random vegetables like sauerkraut and red cabbage were served alongside perfectly “American” dinners of Salisbury steak and tuna casserole in an attempt to have something healthy at every meal. Looking back, I’m sure this is how carrots came to be the devil’s work in my mind – I distinctly remember a recipe of sliced carrots steamed then tossed with butter and fresh dill. After searching on the Internet, this is apparently still a popular flavor combination but it will never cross these lips again. I’m currently in food therapy trying to get over my aversion to carrots…and to dill, for that matter.

I’ve come to realize that the reason most people don’t like Brussels sprouts is due to an event very similar to this. They’ve been made to eat Brussels sprouts that were boiled. With no seasoning…or worse…from a can. I know I’ve said this about my other Brussels sprout recipes but I feel confident is proclaiming that this recipe will turn anyone into a Brussels sprout fan. Anyone.

Even when cooked “properly” – i.e. not boiled – many people complain about the bitterness of Brussels sprouts. I’ve never been much concerned about that – they’re one of my favorite vegetables. This salad recipe employs a technique with Brussels sprouts that I would have never thought to use with them. They’re flash fried. I had this salad at a restaurant here in Atlanta called 4th & Swift. Some of you who follow me on Twitter saw me rattling on and on about my wonderful meal there. So wonderful I went two nights in a row…and had this dish both times. Flash frying the sprouts takes the bitterness out and leaves them al dente with a nice char to the leaves. Mixed with creme fraiche, toasted pistachios and slivers of crisp apples – imagine a Brussels sprout Waldorf salad remix. The key here is to get a nice brown char on the leaves – waiting until the oil is perfectly hot before throwing them in is key. This is a very hearty salad to serve as a striking appetizer – a little bit goes a long way.

Brussels Sprout & Apple Salad – serves 4 as a hearty appetizer/salad – inspired by a dish at 4th & Swift in Atlanta, GA

  • 1 16 ounce bunch fresh Brussels sprouts – first few outer leaves removed and sprouts cut in half lengthwise through the stem
  • 4 cups canola or peanut oil – use a lightly flavored oil with a high smoke point here and not olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 medium Lady or Gala apples – cored and cut into 1/4″ slices
  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • 6 tablespoons creme fraiche
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted pistachios, chopped
  • kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper – optional at the end

– In a small bowl, squeeze the lemon juice over your thinly sliced apples to keep them from browning and set aside.

– In a heavy bottomed pot, heat up the oil until it reaches 350 or is shimmering – employ your oil thermometer here. If you don’t have a thermometer, toss one of the discarded leaves in the oil when you think it is hot enough – it should crackle and start to fry. When the oil is up to temp, put in the Brussels sprouts cut side down and fry for 4-5 minutes. Keep an eye on these as the cooking time will vary depending on size. When they’re fried and brown on the cut sides and edges of leaving, remove from oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate to cool.

– Meanwhile, place the apple cider vinegar in a medium sized bowl. When the sprouts have cooled slightly and any excess oil drained off, toss them in the vinegar quickly. You’re just trying to coat them here & not get them soggy. Do this right as you’re ready to plate them to serve.

– To assemble: Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of creme fraiche on each of your chosen serving plates – I just spooned mine on to make a bed for the sprouts but use a squeeze bottle if you’re feeling frisky. Evenly portion out your Brussels sprouts and thinly sliced apples on each plate. Sprinkle the salad with roasted pistachios. If there is any residual apple cider left in the bowl you tossed the sprouts with, spoon the remainder over the sprouts once plated. If you feel like the dish needs it – mine did not – sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt and fresh ground pepper. Serve immediately.


DessertForTwo Jan 27, 2011 11:01 am

I’m a brussel sprout lover, always have been, but I can’t wait to try this version!

I char my sprouts in a cast iron skillet, remove ’em, then add 12 cloves of garlic, a handful of brown sugar and apple cider vinegar. Reduce and pour over sprouts. I think this is an old Vegetarian Times recipe from years ago. I made it 1 Thanksgiving and my family loved it, so I’ve been making it ever since.

Jessa Jan 27, 2011 11:01 am

I LOVE brussels sprouts. I broil them in the oven with a bit of oil and salt and pepper until they get that same delicious char on the edges, and make about 3 times as much as I need so I can make salads with the “leftovers” (usually with a soy/nutritional yeast dressing). I love the idea of a Waldorf, though – I’m gonna have to try this next time!

EatLiveRun Jan 27, 2011 11:01 am

I love brussels sprouts but have never tried them with apple! Looks delicious!

Lynn Jan 27, 2011 11:01 am

I never had brussels sprouts until I was an adult and I’ve always loved them since. I had good ones just Tuesday night at the Rainbow Grocery hot food bar. Yum – they were braised, I think.

I’ll definitely try this version.

Allison Jan 27, 2011 12:01 pm

I just need to give a shout-out to your Good Seasons Italian Dressing reference. That stuff is still a guilty pleasure of mine (and I make it in the cruet) so thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one out there. :)

kat Jan 27, 2011 12:01 pm

Going to HAVE to try this! Yum!
I’ve loved brussel sprouts since I was a kid. My default cooking method is to always Blanch fresh sprouts for a minute and then season and transfer to the oven for about 45-60 minutes (stirring them once) so that they get nicely caramelized.

Zita Jan 27, 2011 12:01 pm

Love brussel sprouts. I’ve never boiled them. Always roast w/ garlic in coconut oil, season w/ salt & pepper, some grated cheese on top and voila it’s a perfect lunch or dinner! :)

Amy @ Poor Girl Gourmet Jan 27, 2011 01:01 pm

Oh, Tami, be still my heart! I absolutely love Brussels sprouts, but hadn’t considered flash frying them either. This salad sounds divine – thank you for sharing. It’s on the list for this weekend!

merry jennifer Jan 27, 2011 07:01 pm

You, Tami, are a girl after my own heart. First, I despise the cooked carrot. Hate it. Second, brussels are my new love. I wrote a very similar post last week about this exact issue. I am SO ready to try this recipe – I usually roast or saute, but this looks fascinating.

Ethan Jan 27, 2011 07:01 pm

I grew up detesting brussel sprouts. Maybe it was their smell, maybe it was because my sister liked them and I had to be different.
Nowadays, since i’m more “mature”, I do like them and fried with apples sounds pretty good to me! And as usual, your picture makes them look great!

Brian @ A Thought For Food Jan 27, 2011 08:01 pm

I adore Brussels sprouts and now, because of your post, I am going to have to try them with apples. What a brilliant idea.

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table Jan 28, 2011 01:01 am

I can’t wait to try these! I love brussels sliced and roasted in the oven.

Odd childhood combo I still love: pizza with a side of apple slices. It’s like Mom decided she needed to give our dinner some redeeming quality and threw the apple in as an afterthought.

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table Jan 28, 2011 01:01 am

I can’t wait to try these! I love brussels sliced and roasted in the oven.

Odd childhood combo I still love: pizza with a side of apple slices. It’s like Mom decided she needed to give our dinner some redeeming quality and threw the apple in as an afterthought.

Kristan @ Scenes from the Galley Jan 28, 2011 02:01 pm

Oddly enough, my mom was just asking me the other night if I had had brussel sprouts at all recently (I’m not entirely sure how that came up in conversation) – and I hadn’t, although I’m a fan. And this recipe sounds amazing!

Grace's Goodness Jan 31, 2011 11:01 am

The elusive brussels sprouts! Thank you for this delicious sounding recipe. For years, I did not understand, nor eat “little cabbages” – now I’m such a fan I even eat them raw in a salad inspired by http://www.glutenfreegirl.com: chopped, with red onion, roasted walnuts, dried cranberries, goat cheese and a dose of apple cider vin. But my favorite method is roasting them in the oven till the outer leaves get that crunchy char.
Can’t wait to try this!

Em Feb 1, 2011 04:02 pm

This caught my eye right away, but that good, huh? I can’t remember when the last time I went back to a same restaurant two nights in a row! I can’t wait to give it a try.

emiglia Feb 8, 2011 03:02 pm

I’m not one of the ones who needs to be convinced of the benefits of Brussels sprouts–my mother learned from the boiled ones of her youth and served them roasted with pancetta or with pistachios. This recipe, however, is a definite reason to celebrate. Thanks!

fotograf lublin Feb 11, 2011 11:02 am

I love brussels :-)
All I can say is YUMMMM