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Inspiration for tonight's dinner: the joys of a good, stark contrast.
Delicately bitter, dressed-for-dinner Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Red Onion and Pecorino surprises with the ease of its preparation as much as its beautifully balanced flavors. Poached eggs luxuriate in a heady spice lagoon of Moroccan Merguez Ragout. Hearty but not heavy, it subtly intoxicates.
The Grocery List
3 cups brussels sprouts
1/2 cup finely grated pecorino romano
1 pound Merguez sausage
2 15 ounce cans of tomatoes
1/2 cup cilantro
We are assuming that you enterprising people already have a red onion, eggs, garlic, salt, pepper, mustard, a lemon, honey, olive oil, and paprika in your fridge and/or pantries. If not, it's a good time to stock up on the basics!
A Note about the Moroccan Ragout
In the interest of full disclosure, we'll admit that the recipe calls for two things that may, at first glance, be scary; harissa and ras el hanout. The secret is, they aren't. First, harissa. These days, many grocery stores carry it (just ask a knowledgable-looking employee) and it's a nice thing to have a jar of in your fridge as you can make lots of delicious things with it, like this and this and this! However, if you don't want to track it down, is also something you can make, and here is a harissa recipe for your DIY enjoyment. Meanwhile, ras el hanout is just a blend of cumin, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne and cloves, so if you have a spice rack, you have ras el hanout. Yes, both are a bit more of a to-do than salt and pepper, but it's important to spice things up now and then, don't you think?
The Plan: This will take less than 30 minutes. Seriously.
1. Chop, slice, dice, grate and measure everything.
2. Soak the red onion for the sprout salad.
3. Tackle the salad dressing. Toss the salad together (undressed).
4. Focus all your attention on the eggs.
5. As you wait for the whites to set, toss the salad with the dressing. Serve with nice crusty bread and enjoy!
Aside: We think the cook deserves a lengthy foot massage tonight! Why? Because dinner is served.