I love Brussels Sprouts, but if my first experience with them had been the usual boiled to death mess that people think is how brussels sprouts should be served, I probably would hate them. Sometimes I think I should do a cookbook dedicated to the poor, misunderstood and badly cooked brussels sprout – redeeming it from the boilers who cook all the flavor, texture and goodness out of them. I had company over for dinner last night, a friend who has already enjoyed most of the highlights of my brussels sprouts repertoire, so I decided it was time to invent something new. Knowing her love of garlic rivals my own, I decided to do a full court press on garlic and brussels sprouts. So, if you’re garlic shy or if it’s date night, you might want to cut the garlic in half. This recipe has enough garlic to really have bite, though not enough to give you a garlic rush. It’s not for the faint of heart.
I washed about 30 brussels sprouts, chopped off the stems and then sliced them thinly and broke them up into a lovely bed of shredded sprouts. You could slice on a mandoline if you want more consistency. I chopped up about 1/2 cup of red onion and tossed that in. I then chopped up 4 large cloves or garlic. As I said, you could cut that in half and still have a tasty salad, but I was going for a salad that served as a delivery mechanism for garlic. I then added about 1 TBSP of kosher salt and 2 TBSP of olive oil. Using my hands, I worked the salt, oil and garlic into the sprouts. I then squeezed the juice of one lemon on top and mixed that in as well. I added some salt and pepper to taste. Then, I let the salad rest on the counter for half an hour or so, allowing the salt to soften the sprouts a bit. Before serving, I added 1/4 cup of fresh chopped parsley for some color contrast and to add just a bit of earthiness.
The salad still was toothsome and crunchy from the sprouts and onion, the garlic flavor was strong, with real bite that was matched by the brilliant lemon juice. The parsley mellowed the salad just a bit, keeping the garlic from overwhelming the dish.
This made four salad servings, but we loved it so much, it really was only two. For a richer salad, you could add shredded parmesan, but I loved it just as it is. I will definitely be making this again and again.