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Author Notes: This simple salad of braised Brussels sprouts will make you wonder why Brussels haven't always been your favorite vegetable. They are braised simply and then dressed with a basic balsamic vinaigrette. The crumbled feta, dried fruit, and nuts provide the perfect contrast to their slight bitterness. My dinner guests always say that these steal the show. Ridiculously delicious. —Courtney Gaylord
Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Combine all 5 ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously to emulsify.
Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad
- 2 pounds fresh brussels sprouts
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta
- 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup nuts (pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, and/or almonds)
- Clean the brussels sprouts: Peel away the tough outer leaves, halve or quarter them (depending on their size), and rinse them well. Drain them and lay out to dry on a clean kitchen towel.
- Over medium-high heat, melt the butter in a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Add the dried brussels sprouts to the pan and spread them out. Allow them to caramelize before stirring. Caramelize and stir again. Repeat until all of the sprouts are nicely golden-brown in places.
- To the skillet, add the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 5-10 minutes, until sprouts are "al dente." To check for doneness, pierce one with the tip of a sharp knife. It should be firm but no longer crisp.
- While the sprouts braise, chop the nuts and sweetened dried cranberries coarsely and set them aside.
- When the brussels sprouts are done, drain them completely. Return them to the hot skillet, off heat. Allow the residual heat to dry them for a minute or two.
- To the warm sprouts, add 1/2 cup of the simple balsamic vinaigrette and stir well to coat them all. (Reserve the rest of the dressing for another use.) Gently stir in the crumbled feta, chopped nuts, and dried cranberries. Serve warm.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Most Impressive Dinner Party Side