Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Brussels Sprouts Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette: Totally healthyish
There's a monthly column in Glamour Magazine called "Hey, it's ok..." that lists peculiarities that might be considered "bad," but are actually relatively normal behaviors that the collective population might secretly admit to doing as well.
Think, it's ok.... to wear a dress with stains on it to dinner because you're probably going to spill on it anyway.
To believe you have a chance with Adam Levine even though his last girlfriend was a Victoria Secret model.
To come home utterly stuffed from a five course dinner (with dessert) and still need a piece of chocolate before going to bed.
To read the horoscope section of the paper first and only skim the article about U.S. drone strikes.
To order a salad with bacon, cheddar cheese and salted peanuts and still pat yourself on the back for eating... a salad.
A few weeks ago, my two girl friends and I were engaged in the ubiquitious discussion of where we were going to dinner that night.
"Something healthyish," we said to narrow our options.
We contemplated going vegan with quinoa and veggie bowls at Cafe Gratitude, gorging ourselves on ceviche at Picca, and slurping buckwheat noodles at Soba Sojibo on Sawtelle before ultimately deciding to go to LA's new Southern darling Hart and the Hunter for... "salads."
Because clearly going to a Southern restaurant that specializes in biscuits so impregnated with butter that they crumble the moment you smear them with the housemade pimento cheese spread is the picture of healthy behavior.
Especially since, you know, we were only there for the salads.
And definitely not the biscuits. Nor the marinated anchovies slicked with olive oil to lay over warm country-style slices of pliant white bread. We certainly wouldn't be getting the hangar steak with escargot, mushrooms and grits so egregiously smooth they might as well be served in a cow-shaped creamer.
Then again, eating a few, measly bites of steak and a biscuit that really isn't all that big, and a piece of bread with omega-3-rich anchovies and heart-healthy olive oil, is totally negated by that kale salad with huge chunks of dates and shards of cheese and whole candied pecans anyway.
Not to mention that Brussels sprouts salad with bacon and cheddar cheese and peanuts.
So you tell yourself the same thing when you decide to make it at home. That it's only one strip of bacon per serving. That the peanuts are the good kind of fat. That the cheddar cheese has calcium. That it's totally fine to scrape the sherry bacon vinaigrette you spilled onto the counter into the salad along with whatever germy substance is residing there because you don't want to waste the bacon fat.
And it's most definitely, positively ok to eat the whole thing in less than five minutes using a hunk of sourdough bread to shove every last remaining shred of cheese-laced, peanut spiked, bacon-greased sprouts onto your fork.
You might even decide to treat yourself to a salted caramel pecan babka after.
Because, you know, all you ate was a salad for lunch.
Brussels Sprouts Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette
Inspired by the salad at Hart and the Hunter in Los Angeles
Serves 2 as an entree, 4 as a side
2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Maple syrup
Freshly ground pepper
2 big, meaty strips of thick-cut bacon (or 3-4 if your strips aren't... meaty)
1 pound (or roughly 20) Brussels sprouts, stems and outer leaves removed
1 small Fiji or Gala apple or half a large apple, sliced into matchsticks
1/4 cup salted, roasted peanuts
1/4 - 1/3 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
In a small bowl, whisk together the sherry vinegar, dijon mustard, maple syrup, and freshly ground pepper. Set aside.
Place bacon strips in a small cast iron or nonstick pan. Turn on the heat and slowly begin cooking the bacon over low heat. When the edges start to curl up from the pan, use a fork or pair of tongs to turn the bacon and start cooking the other side. Continue turning the bacon as it cooks so that each side browns evenly. Once all the bacon is well-rendered, remove from the pan and set on a paper towel lined plate to cool and crisp up.
Pour bacon grease from the pan into the bowl with the dressing. Whisk to combine. Set aside while prepping the salad.
Slice the Brussels sprouts in half, length-wise. Place each half face-down on the cutting board, use a very sharp knife to slice horizontally into thin ribbons. Chop bacon into pieces.
In a large bowl combine the shredded Brussels sprouts, apples, peanuts, bacon, and cheddar cheese. Toss with dressing and serve immediately, patting yourself on the back for being healthyish.