The perfect Thanksgiving of Christmas dinner side dish recipe
Can you believe we’re a scant 6 days away from Canadian Thanksgiving? Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday we were sweeping off the front porches and patios to prepare for a summer’s worth of barbecues, outdoor entertaining and late evening lounging with a cold cocktail? 2012 is more than half over and it seems like it just started. Rather than panicking about the swift exit of summer, why not embrace the return of woolly socks, hot tea and autumnal ingredients?
Like Brussels sprouts! You all LOVE Brussels sprouts, right? Right?! Ok, ok. I know they’re not exactly at the top of everyone’s list of must-eat fall vegetables, but I chalk that up to most people never having had them in a dish that allowed them to sing. And believe me, they can coo soft and sweetly when browned and braised in a little cream or sing loud and proud when roasted and tossed with other bold flavours. Truly, they are one of the most versatile vegetables and can stand up to so many flavour combinations – but you have to give them a chance to change your mind. Give sprouts a chance (I can’t help but imagine a tiny sprout carrying around a picket sign with this on it).
The Brussels sprout salad I wanted to share today is the perfect side dish for the sprout-weary folk at your Thanksgiving table. When roasted and tossed with tart, crunchy honey crisp apples, sharp tangy Roquefort, roasted hazelnuts and a maple-cider vinaigrette, their slight bitterness is muted and more palatable than when they are boiled to the point of soggy mush. Imagine that! Give this salad a trial run at your Thanksgiving table, or as a light weeknight dinner or side salad. I have a feeling it might make you a believer.
- Salad Ingredients
- 2-1/2 cups Brussels sprouts (opt for the small ones with tighter leaves)
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1-2 medium honey crisp apples (Granny smith in a pinch), cut into matchsticks
- ⅓ cup hazelnuts, roasted to remove skins and rough chopped
- small hunk (1/4-1/3 cup) Roquefort or other tangy blue cheese of your choice
- Maple-Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ⅓ cup good quality olive oil
- 1 tbsp shallot, minced
- Preheat oven to 375º F.
- Remove any shaggy, brown leaves from the sprouts, slice in half (if they are large, slice into quarters) and place in a roasting pan. Toss with 2-3 Tbsp of olive oil, you just want them to have a thin coating, and a pinch or two each of salt and pepper. Roast, stirring after 10 minutes, until lightly browned and fork-tender, about 25 minutes.
- While the sprouts roast, whisk all the vinaigrette ingredients except the olive oil together in a small bowl. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking to help emulsify.
- When sprouts have finished roasting, throw them into a big bowl along with the matchstick apples, hazelnut pieces, and a few tbsp of the vinaigrette if eating right away. If not, wait until you’re ready to serve or just let guests spoon over the salad themselves. Top with crumbled Roquefort and some fresh ground pepper.