keito potato

Raw Brussels Sprout Salad with Shaved Parmesan and Toasted Walnuts
October 18, 2011, 9:17 pm
Filed under: recipes, salads | Tags: , , ,

Over the past few years, I’ve become something of a “brussels-sprout-Evangelist,” spreading the good news of how fabulous brussels sprouts can be — if prepared thoughtfully.  I truly believe that most people who think they hate brussels sprouts actually hate poor preparation (like boiling the little guys to death), and would enjoy them if they tried better cooking methods.  My trusted basic method with brussels sprouts is to steam them softly in salted water, then toss them in browned butter (which has a lovely nutty flavor).  Lately people have been grilling or roasting them, and tossing them in a myriad of complementary sauces.  We’re on a good path.

Now a spark of genius: this fresh, raw brussels sprout salad has emerged as an unexpected and delightful alternative.  After all of these years of cooking the hell out of them, who would have thought that a delicate salad could be composed from the tender, nutty, raw inner leaves?

I’ve heard from friends that the Austrian chef at Johannes in Palm Springs has been doing something revolutionary with brussels sprouts.  He peels off the inner layers and fluffs them up raw into a simple salad with toasted walnuts, parmesan, and a light vinaigrette.  I’ve never been to the restaurant, but have embraced his salad idea.  It’s the first time I’ve thought to fluff up the raw leaves into a light and buoyant salad.  This fall, it’s become my favorite salad to prepare at home, and I especially enjoy the simple but complementary nuttiness of the parmesan and toasted walnuts. 

The recipe I’ve written out has flexible amounts, since most salads are intrinsically flexible, and you also might want to vary the size of the salad per number of guests.  I use my favorite simple French salad dressing from My French Kitchen by Joanne Harris & Fran Warde.  Over the past year or so, I’ve used this bright and simple dressing for most salads, and for dressing other things like steamed vegetables.  This amount of dressing will make more than what you need for the amount of salad as written, but the remaining dressing will keep for a week or so in the fridge.



about 3 cups brussels sprouts

handful of walnuts

parmesan for shaving

Simple French Dressing:

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 teaspoons good mustard (grainy or smooth, or 1 teaspoon of each)

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

sea salt and black pepper to taste


Rinse the brussels sprouts in a colander.  Trim off the stems with a paring knife.  Peel off and discard a few of the darker outer leaves from each brussels sprout.  Use the remaining inner leaves for the salad, peeling them off one by one.  This can be a little tedious.  Because the leaves are wrapped tightly around the sphere of the sprout, I have found it easier to remove them if I cut the sprout in half length-wise, before peeling off the leaves. 

Make the salad dressing by combining the ingredients in a small jar, and shaking it for about 30 seconds.

Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in the oven for about 10-15 minutes at 300F.  I tend to toast my walnuts until they’re fairly dark because the nutty flavor intensifies.  When toasted, roughly chop the walnuts and scatter them over the brussels sprout leaves.  Shave the parmesan on top.

Pour some of the dressing over the salad and toss. 

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[…] Raw Brussels Sprout Salad with Shaved Parmesan and Toasted Walnuts […]

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