By now, the campaign for brussels sprouts hardly needs any help from me.
They're seen proudly offered on menus, often served in a mini cast-iron skillet with bacon or pancetta. I've seen a slideshow featuring a dozen favorite Brussels sprouts dishes from restaurants in New York City.
Brussels sprouts have been the "it" girl for a while, kind of the Anne Hathaway of vegetables. (Which vegetable would be the Jennifer Lawrence? Maybe it's too early to tell.)
That's because falling in love with Brussels sprouts is easy. Just roast them. People try them this way and are instantly smitten with the cute little cabbages. They are irresistible when crisped and caramelized at the edges, a far cry from the mushy steamed sprouts of childhood nightmares.
So what's out there for the roasted Brussels sprouts enthusiast looking for something new? Here's a fresh take on how to serve this cruciferous vegetable, though still lightly charred, with no bacon in sight.
Brussels sprouts are quartered and roasted at high temperatures before getting tossed with thinly sliced red cabbage. A spiced honey mustard salad dressing is bright with lemon juice and slightly sweet, which complements the plump cranberries, and ties everything together.
Danny chose this recipe from an old copy of Food & Wine. I shrugged my shoulders at the suggestion and went ahead and picked up the ingredients without expecting much.
One bite in, and I was a fool for brussels sprouts all over again. The dressing is complex with its sweet and spicy combo, amped up by the sizzling garlic. The sprouts are caramelized and the red cabbage is crunchy. This salad is such an inviting mix of colors, flavors, and textures.
It was so good I took a few more bites from the serving bowl before taking it to the dinner table. And about halfway through the serving on my plate, I remembered the cheese. I'd forgotten to add the cheese! That doesn't happen very often.
Ileana Morales is a writer who cooks in a small apartment kitchen in Tampa with boyfriend Danny Valentine, an education reporter for the Tampa Bay Times. For more of their kitchen adventures, visit Ileana's blog, alittlesaffron.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.