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Brussels Sprouts Salad a la M. Wells

December 31, 2010

Brussels Sprouts Salad a la M. Wells

- Amanda

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.

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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:

Brussels Sprouts Salad a la M. Wells

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

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.

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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mtrelaun January 11, 2011
This salad is off the hook delicious, Amanda!
Amanda H. January 11, 2011
Hey Martine -- thanks for trying it out!
nico843 January 5, 2011
I was contemplating Bittman's cabbage salad from todays paper when this came up in twitter, and recently saw that the Garden of Eden on Montague started carrying Piment d'Esplette, amazing timing! Can't wait to eat this tonight!
Amanda H. January 6, 2011
Hope it turned out well -- and btw, I'm a fellow Brooklyn Heights resident!
TheWimpyVegetarian January 4, 2011
Delicious! I made this for dinner tonight and it was a perfect post holiday meal! I sub'd dried tart cherries since i have a bunch of them needing a home. Can't wait to have this for lunch tomorrow! Thanks for a great recipe!!
TheWimpyVegetarian January 4, 2011
Oh, i should add that i used the grate on my food processor and it took about 1 minute to shred the bs. I have a little fear (deep respect) for the mandoline due to a really bad incident with it in school a couple years ago...:-(
Alma D. November 20, 2019
Thanks for the suggestion to use the food processor vs the mandolin!
I have several scary stories about the mandolin 😳😳!
dymnyno January 4, 2011
I love this recipe...I posted a BS recipe last year that involve very little cooking. It is amazing how delicious they are when left crisp!
BakerMary January 4, 2011
Oh, I hate feeling ignorant, and even more exposing it to the world, but - speck? The original dish had venison jerky, is this venison in some form? And what's a reasonable substitute, readily found between the coasts?? thanks in advance
Amanda H. January 4, 2011
Great question -- I didn't even bother trying to get venison jerky, so that's why I called for speck, which is cured ham, like prosciutto but firmer. Prosciutto would also make a great substitute!
lastnightsdinner January 4, 2011
BakerMary, if you have a Whole Foods Market nearby, you might look there for speck - our markets carry packaged sliced speck from La Quercia which is really delicious. A good cheese/charcuterie shop should be able to get it for you as well, if they don't already carry it.
SueonFood January 3, 2011
Thank you so much for posting this! What a fabulous recipe! I left out the speck and toasted the walnuts and I could eat this forever. It's a wonderful combination of crunchy, sweet and toasted goodness.
Amanda H. January 3, 2011
Thrilled you like it!
ctgal January 2, 2011
I shred brussel sprouts in the food processor, slicing blade. They shred finely. I toss them with olive oil, kosher salt and fresh pepper and roast them at a high temp (400?), stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes. For an additional 5 minutes, I sprinkle on about a quarter of a cup of fresh grated parmesan till it melts. Perfect! Even my 24 year old who has never been of fan of the vegetable devours them. But I am surely going to try this salad. It hits all my buttons!! Thanks!
Amanda H. January 3, 2011
This sounds SO great. I think my 4-year-olds would love it.
drbabs January 2, 2011
Had this for dinner tonight (minus the speck and the cheese because my husband doesn't eat them) and it was wonderful. Thanks for a great recipe! P.S. I did cut my thumb on the mandoline and ended up just slicing the brussels sprouts really fine with my chef's knife. It still came out great!
Amanda H. January 3, 2011
Ouch! Sorry to hear that. Slicing them with a knife by hand is good for the knife skills!
Loves F. January 2, 2011
Sounds similar to my Fruity Brussels Sprouts salad with apples, cranberries, nuts, lemon juice, evoo... I like the idea of adding arugula to it also! http://www.food52.com/recipes/1309_fresh_and_fruity_brussels_sprout_salad
Amanda H. January 3, 2011
Yes, thanks for the link. I like how you separate the larger leaves.
Mis4 January 2, 2011
Shredded brussel sprouts are definitely one of the greens of the moment. I had them on a bacon and blue cheese burger recently and they added so much more interest than lettuce. The thing that concerns me is the bare fingers used to shred them on the mandoline. Whether it's the Girl Scout in me or just the Mom, do be careful as those things are sharp!
Amanda H. January 3, 2011
Indeed -- see drbabs's comment above!
luvcookbooks January 2, 2011
my husband got me a mandoline for christmas just in time for this recipe! between this and sagegreen's lentil salad, i'm set for the New Year. Hope for peace, prosperity and good health for all of you!
Amanda H. January 3, 2011
Best wishes to you as well!
wssmom January 1, 2011
Lovely lovely lovely. WIll be packed in my brown bag Monday morning for work ...
Amanda H. January 3, 2011
TheWimpyVegetarian December 31, 2010
I love this salad and can't wait to make it!!! And you're right, it's absolutely perfect for after the gorging of the holidays! Excited to see what Christine does with BA. Congrats to her! Happy New Year to you and Merrill and the food52 team!
Amanda H. January 3, 2011
Yes, I think it will be fun to see BA evolve.
Dina A. December 31, 2010
Love the simplicity of this salad. Whilst perusing your book, recently, I read a similar recipe that called for shredded brussel sprouts that peaked my interest. Nice to now have a visual.
So, I too am curious, what happened with the woodcocks?
Amanda H. January 3, 2011
There are two shredded brussels sprouts recipes in the book, and both are cooked, so they're a bit different, but all three are good (I say shamelessly)!
mrslarkin December 31, 2010
Love this! Thanks for the recipe, Amanda. Curious what happened to the plucked woodcock. Good luck at BA, Christine! I worked there many moons ago, and it's where I first dipped my toes into the foodie (and scone) waters.
Amanda H. January 3, 2011
I left before they met their final fate.