For a potluck, the entrée is Shepherd's Pie. I'm to bring a side. The obvious side is a salad. I would love some not-so-obvious suggestions for a side dish. Thanks!
How about a variation on a salad? Thinly slice peeled citrus fruit (pink grapefruit, oranges, clementines, blood oranges if you can get them) and serve on a bed of arugula. Top with thinly sliced fennel, chopped fennel fronds, possibly some crumbled cheese (ricotta salata?), salt, pepper and a sharp vinaigrette.
This is really delicious: http://www.food52.com/recipes...
Here's what I'd bring -- a roasted beet and carrot salad.
It's not-so-obvious, but people love it.
You really need to use a food processor with its grating blade to grate the roasted carrots. You can also change up the acid and herbs, if you like. I made it with lemon and parsley instead of lime and mint recently, and it was delicious. ;o)
Like drbabs, I'd also think citrus salad - one I do frequently is thinly sliced oranges (blood oranges add great color, if you can find them), on a bed of some kind of green - a scattering of endive helps, strewn with thin red onion slices, crumbled feta and chopped kalamata olives. All you need is a simple vinaigrette. Another fruit-ish/seasonal salad I like is thinly sliced ripe juicy pears, over arugula, topped with shavings of parmesan, maybe some toasted walnuts and a vinaigrette made with sherry vinegar, dijon...a splash of walnut oil if it's handy. Either one would be a nice contrast to the rich earthiness of a Shepherd's Pie.
I had an amazing salad at a restaurant here in Philly that would be perfect side: pretty colors, nice textures: Shepards pie does tend to lack crunch & snap and this will balance out beautifully.
Not sure of the exact recipe but here are the components:
Finely julienned lacinato kale (raw) tossed with a pistachio pesto
Roasted beets (red & yellow) marinated in orange/honey/olive oil/lemon (probably some pictachio oil in there was well), with orange supremes
Creamy goat cheese...
The way it was served was: goat cheese spread along the base of the plate, beets & oranges piled on top of the cheese the whole thing covered in a flurry dark green shiny kale ribbons
It was a divine treasure hunt.
I might take one of those raw broccoli salads. It is crunchy and popular at potlucks with all ages, it's a type of slaw. I like to make one with grapes and sunflower seeds and I omit the bacon. http://www.food.com/recipe...
I also like salads with oranges this time of year and Mollie Katzan's Morrocan Orange-Walnut Salad with radish, onion, romaine and spinach is big and fresh and juicy. That would really go well. http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/special/2000/katzen/salad.html
Sauteed Brussel Sprouts with Toasted Almonds and Chopped Bacon!
(fry up some bacon in a pan then chop, toast sliced almonds in the bacon pan and remove for later. marinate quartered brussel sprouts in olive oil salt pepper and herbs of your choice, then sautee on medium high heat in the same pan you made the bacon and almonds. Toss all of the ingredients and voila!)
I've had a shredded Brussels sprouts salad/slaw with a tart mustard dressing and lots of celery seed that was good (and it's odd for me to use "good" and "Brussels Sprouts" in the same sentence). Have intended to suss out the dressing ingredients via some experimentation, but haven't gotten to it.
Pierino is also in the brussels sprouts camp but his criminal mind is also thinking about baked beans in some form, but also something in the pea family. You need something sturdy and not lettuce leaf like.
Wonderful ideas, everyone. I've definitely got some great choices here. Thanks for taking the time....
aliwaks' salad sounds amazing! I was also thinking kale. Melissa Clark has a great raw kale salad if you are looking for an easy dish to make:
I love roasted beets with my favorite bleu cheese of the moment, toasted walnuts, and thinly sliced purple onion. I sometimes add pear or apple. I like citrus & Dijon vinaigrettes, which I pour on the beets while they are still warm, after slipping off their peels and chunking them. That flavors the beets beautifully and often the beets "dress" the rest of the salad. I sometimes serve it over greens, sometimes not.
I have seen avid "I don't eat Brussel sprouts." people, converted after tasting this. In a cast iron skillet, lightly brown in olive oil & butter, or bacon fat, slices of garlic. Take them out. Add halved Brussel sprouts, cut side down. When crisp-tender and starting to brown and carmelize, add pinenuts. Add the garlic slices back in, just before serving. There are times when this hasn't made it to the table. It has gotten eaten straight out of the skillet.