Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Carrots, Cilantro and Citrus Vinaigrette
In his Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables, Chef Joshua McFadden suggests serving this dish warm or at room temperature, but not cold. If you make it ahead, pull it out of the fridge 20 minutes before you serve it. A gorgeous side dish for a Thanksgiving meal, it can also be turned into a vegetarian meal by folding in some toasted cooked farro. The recipe makes more vinaigrette than you will need, but it will keep for at least 2 weeks in the fridge. Use it with leafy salads, root vegetables, celery, broccoli—the entire brassica family, really—plus grain-based salads and much more. To save time, you can use purchased pickled carrots instead of making your own.
For the pickled carrots:
- 1 bunch slender carrots
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) rice vinegar
- 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) hot water
- 5 Tbs. sugar
- 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 5 smashed garlic cloves
- 2 dried chiles
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 Tbs. toasted coriander seeds
For the vinaigrette:
- 1 orange
- 1 lemon
- 1 lime
- 1 1/2 Tbs. honey
- 1 Tbs. Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1 1/2 lb. (750 g) brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup (4 oz./125 g) hazelnuts, walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
- 2 bunches green onions, 1/2 inch (12 mm) of the green tops trimmed and discarded, then thinly sliced
- 1 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
To make the pickled carrots, cut the tops from the carrots, leaving 1/4 inch (6 mm) of the greens intact. Scrub the carrots but don’t peel them.
In a pot or big pitcher, combine the vinegars, hot water, sugar and salt and stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
Fill a clean 1-quart (1-l) canning jar with the carrots, arranging them standing up in the jar. Tuck the garlic, chiles, thyme and coriander seeds in between the carrots. Pour the brine over the carrots until they are completely covered and the jar is full, and screw on the lid. Refrigerate for at least 1 day and up to 2 months before using. When ready to assemble the dish, thinly slice some of the carrots on the diagonal until you have about 2/3 cup. Return the remaining carrots to the refrigerator and save for another use.
To make the vinaigrette, using a rasp-style grater, zest the orange, lemon and lime into a bowl. Halve the fruit and squeeze all the juice into the same bowl to get 2/3 cup (5 fl. oz./160 ml) juice (fish out the seeds). Whisk in the honey, vinegar, 1 tsp. salt and several grindings of pepper
Taste and adjust with more honey, vinegar and salt and pepper, if needed, to make the flavor vibrant. Whisk in the olive oil a few drops at a time or put the juice mixture into a blender or food processor and drizzle in the oil while the machine is running; the machine method will make the vinaigrette creamier and emulsified. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) olive oil and the garlic and cook the garlic until it’s very soft, fragrant and nicely golden brown—but not burnt—about 5 minutes. Scoop out the garlic and set it aside. (This will prevent it from burning while you're cooking the brussels sprouts.)
Increase the heat a bit and add half of the brussels sprouts, cut side down. Season well with salt and pepper and cook gently until the sprouts are tender all the way through but not mushy, 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat midway if the sprouts are getting too brown. Transfer the brussels sprouts to a plate and repeat to cook the second half of the brussels sprouts. Return all the brussels sprouts and the garlic to the pan, crushing the garlic to break it up and mix it with the sprouts.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the pickled carrots, half the nuts and all the green onions and toss thoroughly to mix and warm the new ingredients slightly.
Spoon 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) of the vinaigrette over the sprouts and toss again. Add half each of the cilantro and parsley and toss again. Taste and adjust with more salt, pepper or vinaigrette so the salad is very vibrant.
Right before serving, add a little more vinaigrette if you like, along with the rest of the nuts, cilantro and parsley. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.
Adapted from Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables, by Joshua McFadden with Martha Holmberg (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2017.