In the five years I’ve lived in my general neighborhood, a host of new restaurants have laid down roots and started serving incredible food to the growing population of eaters. Since I compiled the home cook’s guide to Brooklyn food, several new places have opened, their dishes gaining a place in my craving rotation.
As an obsessive home cook, I’m most excited by the high-quality grocery shops we have around. More than any restaurant, I cherish the bakeries with the good bread, the shops with all the cheese, the butcher with the local meat, the bagel place where the everything bagels are always warm, our CSA, and an opening-soon addition: a fish store. I gather ingredients, and I go home and cook. I feel virtuous, thrifty, and healthy every time we make scrambled eggs instead of order in pad thai. Not to preach.
But recently, we’ve begun to abandon the kitchen once a week to head out to one of the excellent eating places in the hood. More than not cooking, I love not doing dishes. And I taste food that I don’t usually cook at home (the best part of the restaurant experience, in my book), from rice sheets with pork shoulder here to burgers and herby fries at James. It was at James, as an appetizer before one burger dinner, that we ordered the special Brussels sprouts salad I’ve replicated for you here.
It was very surprising! Warm roasted sprouts mingled with chewy spaetzle, both dressed in a sweet, buttery vinaigrette. So good and so different, I had to try it at home.
The next Saturday, I roasted farmers’ market sprouts, cooked Israeli cous cous, my spaetzle replacement, and melted butter before whisking it into a lemon- and maple-spiked dressing. This is a restaurant-style dish, which means, first of all, that it may seem like a weird combination but you should have some trust, and second of all, that there’s a bit more butter and oil than normal. Also, it uses a few more pans than you might be used to if you cook a lot of BGSK recipes. Apologies. If you like the idea of trying your hand at spaetzle, Melissa Clark just wrote up a recipe for the Times. You could definitely double this for a dinner party and quadruple it for a small Thanksgiving.
If you’ve ever been to Alta, in the West Village, you’ll love our recipe for their Brussels sprouts with apples.
Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad with Maple Vinaigrette & Crunchy Breadcrumbs
Serves 2 as a side or appetizer
I actually ate this as a simple vegetarian lunch, which I also recommend. Then it serves one.
1 pint Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (about 1 cup)
1/3 cup Israeli couscous
2 tablespoons minced red onion or shallot
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon lemon juice, from half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons maple syrup
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a small baking pan, toss the halved Brussels sprouts with 2 teaspoons olive oil and a few pinches of salt and spread into a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside.
Bring a small pot of water to boil. Add salt and the Israeli cous cous. Cook for 7 minutes, then drain in a mesh colander.
Meanwhile, set a frying pan over low heat, and melt the butter. Cook the shallot in butter for 6-7 minutes, and sprinkle with a little salt. Scrape the shallot and butter into a little bowl and set aside.
Add a little olive oil to the pan, raise the heat to medium-high, and throw in the bread crumbs. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are crispy, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, then scrape out into a little bowl and set aside.
Finally, make the dressing. In a serving bowl, combine the lemon juice and Dijon mustard and whisk together. Whisk in the butter and shallots, and then continue to whisk in 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, until the dressing is your desired degree of tanginess. Whisk in the maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the cous cous and Brussels sprouts to the bowl with the dressing and toss. Taste for seasoning, adjusting as needed. Top with the crispy breadcrumbs. Serve warm or room temperature.
This post is part of Food Network’s Fall Fest. Click below to see what other participating bloggers made with Brussels sprouts:
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Tangy Brussels Sprout Apple Salad
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad with Tahini Vinaigrette
Red or Green: Spicy Skillet Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Yogurt Garlic Dip
Domesticate Me: Brie Quesadillas with Brussels Sprouts, Bacon and Beer-Glazed Onions
Virtually Homemade: Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Butternut Squash
Dishing: Brussels Sprouts with Plain Omelette
Devour: Chefs’ Best Brussels Sprouts
Weelicious: Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds
FN Dish: Thanksgiving’s Finest Brussels Sprouts Sides
Dishin & Dishes: Brussels Sprouts Gratin