This post is brought to you today by the letter... B. B is by far my favorite letter of the alphabet. I love B so much, I may or may not have gotten it tattooed on an undisclosed location of my bod on my 18th birthday. *Insert blushing emoji face here.* My closest friends and family all call me Bea, or Bee Sting (I can be pretty sassy at times, hence the stinger!) To me, B brings to mind so many bright and badass things for instance honey bees (hello, spirit animal), boss babes, blessings, beaches, beauty and Brussels sprouts. Bruh, yes, Brussels sprouts!
Original Watercolor by Rebecca Taylor - 2018
Brussels sprouts are a mainstay in my diet and therefore deserve to be featured as the official brassica ambassadors of the letter B in the Beccalani ABCs of Happy Healthful Living! Aside from being what I think of as a trendy-veg, Brussels are extra amaze because they pack a nutritious and anti-inflammatory one-two punch, while belonging to an elite group called cruciferous vegetables. Think broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, arugula, collards, watercress and radishes these leafy green veggies are #squadgoals when it comes to doing the body good.
Cruciferous vegetables are rich in the phytonutrient sulforaphane, a plant-based compound that may help to lower inflammation and reduce the risk of developing cancer. Don’t believe me? Just ask Dr. Rhonda Patrick.
I definitely became a diehard at-home sprouter (sproutier?) after watching that video. I plan on writing all about my sprout game in a future post. Stay tuned.
Gone are the days of people boiling their Brussels to oblivion, and then hating on them for smelling like farts. Those were dark times. A new dawn for baby cabbages has arrived and she is high fiber, vitamin rich, and extra delicious. We are roasting them, we are frying them, we are we are shaving them and eating them raw! YAS B. I use two of the above methods in this upcoming recipe, so keep reading, but first the backstory...
I recently had the pleasure of enjoying the most crave-worthy Caesar-ish Brussels sprout and kale salad at my girlfriend Sivan’s baby shower. I ate like three helpings of the salad while at the shower and then thought about it for about three days after the event had passed. It was the perfect blend of dark green kale, golden brown crispy Brussels, garlicky crunchy croutons, and umami-packed lemon + anchovy dressing. It was to die. So I did what any good food enthusiast would do, texted my girlfriend, tracked down the restaurant responsible (Winsome on Sunset… swoon!), then stalked the shit out of their website till I found the salad. I studied the general components and set out to make an at-home version with my own spin on it. I couldn’t find little gems in my market, alas, so I swapped them with more Brussels but shaved. Oh, and I unfussed my dressing a tad by skipping the whole coddled-egg-emulsification business, and instead opted for rustic and simple, no blending required.
I enlisted some sous chef and photog assistance from my lovely pal Brittany of @boozedandbitten. I hope you enjoy these Brussels as much as we did. Please share in the comments below your favorite preparation for Brussels, but if you steam them or boil them, don’t bother! Kidding… sorta.
B is for Brussels Sprouts Salad with Garlicky-Herbed Croutons
1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 medium bunches kale (I like lacinato/dinosaur kale for this, it's the dark green non-curly kind)
5 - 8 cloves fresh garlic minced
1 small french baguette (for making homemade Garlicky Herbed-Croutons)
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, or other fresh herbs like basil or thyme
3 anchovy fillets (I like these Napoleon ones packed in olive oil)
1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese for grating
Extra-virgin olive oil (I like Wonder Valley Olive Oil)
salt and pepper to taste
Mini Mandolin (Not necessary, but mad useful. I have this one by OXO)
Begin by preheating the oven to 400 degrees.
For the Garlicky Herbed-Croutons
Begin by mincing about 4 cloves of the garlic, and roughly chopping the fresh rosemary. Slice the baguette into 1 inch cubes, toss the cubed bread with a generous glug of olive oil, the minced garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Add other herbs if you like such as basil or thyme.
Spread the garlicky herbed-croutons on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake until golden brown. I baked mine in the oven for about 25 mins, take them out before they're rock hard, it's nice to have a few with chewy centers.
For the Salad
Divide the Brussels sprouts into two even groups. One bunch will be roasted, the other lot will be shaved thin. For the ones going in the oven, trim the ends and slice down the middle. For larger sprouts you can quarter. Its alright if some of the leaves come apart (those will get crispy and deep brown in the oven).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Evenly distribute the halved sprouts onto the baking sheet. Drizzle generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast the sprouts in a preheated oven for 30 - 45 minutes shaking the pan every 15 minutes or so for even browning. Its fine to roast alongside the croutons since they like the same heat! I let mine get dark golden brown and nearly charred in some parts because I love the crispy texture and roasted flavor.
While the first half of sprouts roast, shave the other half very thinly using a mandolin. You can use a knife if you don't have a mandolin, but go for the thinnest slices you can.
Meanwhile, remove the stem from the kale stalks and slice into strips. Combine with the raw shaved Brussels.
To make the dressing, begin by chopping the anchovies very fine. In a small bowl use a fork to smash and smear the anchovies into a paste. Add the remaining minced garlic, another generous glug of olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, and three-quarters of the grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Bring the dressing together by whisking with a fork to fully incorporate.
Pour the dressing over the top of the shaved Brussels and kale, massage and toss with your hands until the dressing is well distributed, and the kale has softened.
Arrange the salad on a large platter or bowl and top with the crispy roasted Brussels, homemade croutons, and remaining Pecorino Romano. Season to your liking with fresh cracked pepper.
Enjoy with a lively group! This salad keeps well in the fridge for a day or two. If preparing in advance, wait until just before serving time before adding in the croutons. Those should be stored in an airtight contain in the cupboard.