This salad is an explosion of flavor and texture. It takes a bit of preparation but if you can multi-task it takes about 25 minutes from start to finish and you end up with a salad that not only looks amazing, but is layered with so many flavors that it tastes like you spent hours on it.
First you need to roast the parsnips because they will be the last thing to finish cooking. Preheat your oven to 420° F and using a vegetable peeler, shave off about 1/4 cup of parsnip shavings. Put them in an oven-safe dish or pan and sprinkle with some olive oil, salt and paprika. Use your fingers and mix it together so they are coated and put them in the oven to roast – about 20 minutes or so. You will finish the rest of the salad by the time they are done. They will be nice and brown but not blackened and will be slightly crispy.
Put a sautee pan on the stove with 1 TBSP of olive oil on medium heat. Chop up about 1/4 cup of scallions and 2 cloves of garlic and toss in. Cook until the scallions begin to caramelize. While that’s cooking, clean and quarter 1 cup of brussels sprouts (about a dozen if they are small).
Put about 12 pistachios in a dry fry pan and toast lightly while you cook the scallions and brussels sprouts. Shake the pan to keep them from burning and remove from the heat as soon as they begin to brown.
When the scallions are caramelized, toss in 1 teaspoon of anise seed and 1/4 tsp of cardamom. Let it cook, toasting the seeds. The perfume will be pretty heady and give you an idea of how tasty this salad will be. Add the brussels sprouts and let cook until they begin to toast/brown.
Meanwhile, cut about 10/12 grapes in half. The pistachios should be done, so you can remove them and cut them in half or thirds.
By now the brussels sprouts are done. Remove from the heat and toss in the grapes and pistachios. Grate some fresh nutmeg on top. Put in a bowl and remove the parsnips crisps on sprinkle on top.
What flavors are there in this salad? Sweet grapes, tart cranberries, smoky paprika parsnip crisps, bright scallions, the umami of pistachios, the fresh earthy sprouts and the rich, heady perfume flavors of anise, nutmeg and cardamom. Then there are the textures, the soft grapes, the dry raisons, the al dente sprouts, the crunch nuts, the crispy parsnip. It’s a small banquet all in one.
Makes just one serving. But you might want to double because you may want seconds.