Brussels Sprouts Salad a la M. Wells

By • January 5, 2011 32 Comments

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Author Notes: At a farewell party for Christine Muhlke, who is leaving her job as the food editor at The New York Times Magazine to become executive editor at Bon Appetit, the menu was very Gilded Age. There was veal tongue salad and coquilles St. Jacques, Tom & Jerry's mixed by Christine's husband, Oliver, and a good boozy punch, all laid out on the diner counters at M. Wells in Long Island City.

Toward the end of the party, just before the chef brought out a bunch of freshly shot woodcock for guests to help pluck, they set out a bowl of salad. All the greens -- brussels sprouts and arugula -- were finely shredded but still crisp, and there were slivers of venison jerky, flecks of celery, and bits of dried cranberry and walnut. Wrapping it all was a snappy and faintly spicy vinaigrette. A friend and I declared it the world's best salad. But we'd had Oliver's Tom & Jerry and were feeling merry. So maybe it's not the best, but it's definitely in the hall of fame. And I can't think of a better antidote to a month of gilded holiday gorging. Here is my made-up version of it.
Amanda Hesser

Serves 4

  • 1/4 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and shaved on a mandoline
  • 1 cup finely chopped baby arugula
  • 1 celery rib, trimmed and finely diced (1/8-inch dice)
  • 4 slices speck, cut into slivers
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Pinch piment d'espelette, or to taste
  • Half a lemon, to taste
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the brussels sprouts, arugula, celery, speck, cranberries, walnuts, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the olive oil and add the piment d'espelette. Squeeze on about 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Gently fold the salad together, over and over, until it is fully blended. Taste and adjust seasoning.

More Great Recipes: Vegetables|Appetizers|Salads|Side Dishes|Ribs

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Comments (32) Questions (4)

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11 months ago Jessie Kaye

Try with a kalamata olive instead of spec for a salty treat!!

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over 1 year ago Anne Jennings

I just gave this recipe to my great friend, Meg. I am hoping she makes it and includes a comment here down the road! :)

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almost 2 years ago EM-MV

Freshly shot woodcock?!?! The recipe for the salad looks great but I couldn't quite get past that throwaway line about woodcocks. They are rare to see and quite a treat, especially if you see their mating dance, and it is impossible for me to believe they are raised as food. I am not a big animal protector but eating woodcock seems like it would be for shock value or bragging rights alone; there is not enough meat there to justify the death. IMHO.

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almost 2 years ago Bonnie Foster

What is "speck"?

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almost 2 years ago Christiane Ewersbach

bacon

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about 2 years ago Anne Jennings

Enjoyed again at Hedges Lake! Always delish with pork tenderloin!

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about 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks for the pairing recommendation!

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over 2 years ago susanm

I can't believe this recipe was posted forever ago and I am only just making it. BLOWN AWAY! Have eaten it for lunch or dinner 5 or 6 times in the last 3 weeks. Thanks Amanda.

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about 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Missed your comment earlier -- thanks so much!

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over 2 years ago Vivi B.

passing on a great tip if you are trying not to grate your fingers when you do this - put band aids on your fingers. Just don't grate them!

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over 1 year ago lbyer123

Do yourself a favor and buy a butcher's cut-proof glove. You'll never worry about your fingers again.

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over 1 year ago Amy Doyle

I bet my oyster-shucking glove would work. I need to try that, since I've cut myself many times with my mandoline.

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over 2 years ago BadCat

What is Speck? I tried Googling it and all I got were links for iPhone cases!

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over 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

It's a juniper-flavored cured ham from Tyrol -- an easy substitute for it is prosciutto.

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over 2 years ago Stephanie Lucianovic

Also, my personal changes to this was to add sliced red onion (instead of speck, since I was serving with pork chops) and subbed dried currants for cranberries. I want to try with pecans instead of walnuts next time. I love walnuts and Brussels sprouts, but I'm just curious how it will be with pecans.

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over 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks so much for trying it -- and your substitutions sound great. The onion one is great for vegetarians. My husband likes this recipe, too!

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over 2 years ago Stephanie Lucianovic

Made this tonight and it was simply wonderful. Husband scraped the salad bowl and my entire body already feels very virtuous.

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almost 3 years ago Kvanm

Wow, is this a great salad! I made it for a dinner party last night. The only thing I changed was the walnuts; we have a nut allergy in the house so I used lightly chopped roasted pumpkin seeds instead. It was delicious - even the brussels sprouts "haters" cleaned their plates. Just don't be a klutz like me with the mandoline...those things are sharp. I'll be making this throughout the fall. Thanks!

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almost 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

The pumpkin seeds are a great idea. Thanks for letting us in on your tip!

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about 3 years ago QueenSashy

QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.

I made it last night, and it made my day!

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almost 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Always nice to receive a comment like this -- thank you!

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over 3 years ago Simon Klemba

Took the Walnuts and Cranberries out then added some bacon and some butter seared Scallops on top - A different idea I know but this was my inspiration and made a great little starter

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over 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Sounds good. I like when recipes become like the telephone game.

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over 3 years ago aataylor

This salad is amazing! We had it tonight with some lamb and a nice Burgundy and everyone loved it. I couldn't find speck so just used genoa salami from the grocery store and it worked beautifully! Reminds me of the chopped salad at my favorite French restaurant.

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almost 4 years ago saladpride

lovely salad! great blog!

David from Saladpride
http://saladpride.blogspot...

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almost 4 years ago DennisLikesToEat!

. . .ummmm, what is piment d"espelette? I've got LOTS of spices and condiments, but this one? Nope.

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almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

It's a dried ground chile like cayenne. You could use cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes as a substitute.

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over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I love this salad. I've been making some variation of it (pecans instead of walnuts or fennel instead of celery or Parmesan instead of Romano cheese--depending on what I have in the house) every week this winter.

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over 4 years ago robinbeth

Amazing. I nearly ate the entire bowl all by myself. Thanks!

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over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Good!

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over 4 years ago melissav

We had this for dinner last night with Oui Chef's red pepper soup. Both recipes were a hit and will definitely go into our rotation. Thanks for another great recipe.

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over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Nice menu!