I know that many people will have taken one look at the title and clicked away from the page without reading on. I know that if I'd gone for the original name (of Raw Brussels Sprout Salad), even more people would have gone straight for the little x in its box and run shrieking from the brassica monster. But honestly, truly, stay! It's festive! It's healthy! It's worth a try, I promise!
I think I can hear tumbleweed. Well, for those of us who are not afraid of the Big Bad Brussel, this was a whole new way of preparing them in the Dine at Mine household. I've never eaten sprouts raw before - never known that it was an option - but it was an experiment and I plunged boldly into the great unknown. And, to be honest, it was only moderately successful. I noticed the recipe in a weekend newspaper and it reminded me of the raw asparagus salad I loved which had similarly bemused me at first. I thought "huh", flicked the page and carried on with my day. But it kept coming back to me, dancing around the periphery of my vision and daring me to try it. "Raw sprouts! You've never tried them before. It might be good. It might be amazing! Try me try me try me." They're tenacious little buggers, sprouts.
The end result was nice, but not amazing - although it was fresh and crunchy, it also tasted sort of...grassy. As a salad? Nowhere near as nice as the asparagus one. And as a way of doing sprouts? Nowhere near the top of the list. When you can scorch sprouts ever so slightly in a hot pan and toss them buttery, winey chestnuts and bacon, why would you ever do this? Well, as an experiment. And now I can say that I did. And, what's more, I don't ever have to experiment with it again. After all, in just over three weeks' time there'll be cold turkey and stuffing! No way in hell is this salad replacing brussels bubble and squeak on my leftovers table.
Crunchy Brussels Sprout Salad
Adapted from the Telegraph
Serves 2 as a starter
- 10 brussels sprouts, peeled and trimmed
- a bowl of iced water
- a good squeeze of lemon juice
- about 20g of parmesan
- olive oil, salt and pepper
Slice the sprouts very finely and drop them in the iced water until you're ready to eat. We were ready to eat pretty much immediately but I thought it might be an important step in the process (for tenderising, maybe?) so dunked them anyway.
Drain the sprouts and dry them well with a tea towel or salad spinner. Then squeeze some lemon over them, drizzle a bit of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and shave or grate in the parmesan. Mix well, taste to check the flavours, and adjust as necessary. Done!