All I can say, is that Nigel Slater is a genius.
I rediscover this every time I read anything he’s ever written. But, for this point, he is a true genius. In his latest tome, Tender, which I am officially proclaiming to be my Favourite Book Ever, he makes the point that “raw brussels sprouts are a revelation”, and after trying them for the first time this week, I am inclined to agree with him.
Thinly sliced, and tossed with grainy mustard, lemon zest, and walnut oil, they make a gorgeous raw salad all on their own. I also think they’d be perfectly matched to a sharp & stinky blue cheese, and some walnuts. Mmmm.
But . . . I decided to add a bunch of other veggies and fresh baby spinach to them, and came up with a great springy salad. The best part of the salad? Some unbelievable one-year-old unpasturized* local goat’s cheese from Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co. – they have a stand each Saturday at the Evergreen Brickworks Farmers’ Market. I love to go and chat with Dave, “my cheese guy”, who sold me on this cheese as soon as he explained that they started this goat’s cheddar a year ago as a test batch, that happened to turn out so well that it will be a regular cheese for them starting next year. What he had now was the limited run of the test batch — and I am overjoyed that I was able to snag some! Sharp and incredibly flavourful, this may be my favourite cheddar yet… and I love my cheddars. So, into the salad it went. And it was perfect with the mustardy brussels sprouts!
Raw Brussels Sprout Salad
Inspired by Nigel Slater’s Tender. Serves 2 hungry people as a main course, or 4-6 as a side salad.
- 1 punnet brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
- 2 handfuls baby spinach
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 a cucumber, diced
- 1-2 oz. aged cheddar, cubed
- Grainy Dijon & Lemon Dressing to taste (recipe below)
Toss brussels sprouts with enough dressing to coat and let marinade for about 30 minutes. If you don’t have a lot of time, you can skip the long wait, but at least leave them to soak up the flavours while you chop the other veggies.
In a large bowl, combine spinach, carrots, onion, and cucumber. Add brussels sprouts and toss. Taste to see if you need more dressing — I find this salad needs more dressing than most others… Add the cheddar, toss lightly and serve.
Grainy Dijon & Lemon Dressing
This makes more than enough dressing for the salad, but this way you have some on hand for a quick salad later in the week!
- 2 Tbsp. grainy Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
- 1/2″ nub of fresh ginger, microplaned or grated
- 1 tsp. maple syrup
- 1 tsp. jalapeno flakes (optional, or could replace with red peper flakes for zip)
- salt & pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a small jar, and shake until emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
*Did you know that unpasturized cheese can be sold in Ontario, as long as it’s aged over 60 days?