My mom is probably going to fall off her chair when she sees that I voluntarily ate Brussels sprouts. You would too, if they looked like this.
We like going out to eat. There are two reasons for this: One, we like food, especially good food. Two, we seem to have a lot of our best, most meaningful conversations over restaurant meals. There’s just something, whether it’s the pauses between courses or the fact that we know someone else is doing all the work, that creates a thoughtful, fun atmosphere for us. We talk about so many more random and creative things when we’re at restaurants. The idea for this blog was conceived over dinner out, for instance.
Robby is an expert at finding places we’ve never been to, which means that we get the fun experience of trying new dishes. This salad is inspired by one we had at a local restaurant called Provisions & Buzz Co. I had never thought of a Caesar salad using Brussels sprouts, but let me tell you—it was amazing. The sprouts were quick-fried crispy, and the dressing and the cheese just melted in, with bits of crunchy pancetta on top. I have never eaten a large dish of Brussels sprouts so quickly.
Of course I tried to replicate the recipe at home. I fried my sprouts on the stove and totally smoked up the house and my sprouts absorbed a lot of oil without getting the right kind of crispy. So then I switched to roasting. Roasting is, to me, the secret to making vegetables taste good. I have never liked “green things,” but I’ll eat almost anything that’s roasted. Bonus: almost no oil!
The Caesar dressing is something I’m very proud of. The original recipe is from Smitten Kitchen, a fantastic blog. It turns out it’s really not hard to make your own salad dressing. Even better was tweaking this recipe repeatedly until it’s now Exactly The Way I Like It–creamy with lots of cheese and just the right amount of acid brightness from the lemon and mustard and garlic. Try it, then tweak it yourself. You really can’t go wrong.
One note on continuous whisking: I don’t know the chemical reasons for this, but the slow incorporation of the olive oil results in a nice uniform dressing. If you dump the oil in all at once, it will refuse to fully incorporate and will separate when you stop stirring, no matter how hard you whisk.
What about you? Is there a vegetable or other food that you would never eat as a kid but would happily devour now? Let me know in the comments!
In these proportions, this would be a perfect salad course. I like to double (or triple) this recipe and serve for dinner.