Crispy Brussels Sprout and Acorn Squash Salad with Anchovy-Caper Aioli
- Serves four as an appetizer or side dish
In the last year, I've eaten more Brussels sprouts than in the whole rest of my life combined. Fried to a crisp, charred in the oven or shaved in a slaw, they're my new favorite brassica.
In this recipe, I was trying to replicate an amazing salad I had at Pies and Thighs, a restaurant in Brooklyn -- deep-fried Brussels Sprouts and butternut squash with a lemony aioli. But I wanted to avoid the mess and hassle of deep-frying, and I remembered David Chang's Vietnamese-style Brussels sprouts (http://food52.com/recipes...), so I decided to roast the sprouts instead of frying them. The addition of anchovies and sriracha to the aioli was also inspired by Chang's recipe, which uses fish sauce and chili.
Capers just seemed to make sense, with the anchovies, and I love the crunchy skin of roasted acorn squash. I ended up liking my version even better than either of the dishes that inspired it!
Note: It's hard to make aioli in small amounts because of the egg yolk, so this recipe makes more aioli than you'll need for the recipe. It's great on a sandwich or in an egg salad the next day. —Indrani
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and cover two baking sheets with foil (for easy cleanup). Slice the Brussels sprouts in half and pile them onto one of the baking sheets. Slice the acorn squash lengthways into thin slivers and put them on the other baking sheet.
- Pour olive oil over both trays of vegetables -- about two tablespoons on each tray. Toss with your hands to cover the vegetables with oil, and spread them out evenly. Turn the Brussels sprouts so that they're all cut-side down. Sprinkle salt over both trays, about half a teaspoon on each. Put both trays into the oven and roast until the outer leaves of the sprouts are very dark brown, and the underside of the squash is brown and crispy, about 20 minutes depending on your oven. Pour off excess oil immediately after removing the vegetables from the oven to prevent it being absorbed.
- Meanwhile, make the aioli. Mash the garlic clove with a pinch of kosher salt in a mortar and pestle. Put the remaining half cup of olive oil into a small jug or measuring cup with a spout. In a mixing bowl, whisk the garlic with the egg yolk and half a teaspoon of water. Using a hand or electric whisk, keep whisking vigorously while dribbling in the oil, drop by drop. As the oil is absorbed, the mixture will emulsify, becoming opaque and thick. Keep whisking and dribbling until all the oil is incorporated.
- In the mortar and pestle, mash together the anchovies and capers to a paste. Add the sriracha and lime juice, stir together, and whisk the mixture into the aioli. Taste and add salt if necessary, which it probably won't be.
- To serve, smear a couple of tablespoons of the aioli on a plate, then arrange the warm crispy sprouts and squash on top.
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