Friday, January 2, 2015

Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette, Maple Candied Pecans and Chevre

My first blog post of the new year! I hope everyone has a happy and healthy joy-filled year in 2015! This is a post about the warm brussel sprout salad I served for my Christmas dinner. How to describe this dish? Well, it's packed full of bold flavors that somehow all end up coming together harmoniously. Earthy sprouts lose some of their cabbage-y funk when roasted with orange zest and they are a perfect, slightly sweet compliment to the tangy orange-thyme vinaigrette. Maple toasted pecans add a sweet crunchy pop that perfectly compliments the mildly sharp chevre crumbles. Try it. It may make a brussel sprouts convert out of you.

The recipe makes just about twice the maple toasted pecans needed for the salad. I've doubled the amount because they make an awesome snack!

Orange Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad w/ Orange Thyme Vinaigrette, Maple Roasted Pecans and Chevre Crumbles

Makes 4 salad bowl sized servings

2 lbs. brussel sprouts, cleaned, trimmed and cut in half
2 large naval oranges
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot clove, roughly chopped
4 sprigs thyme
1 cup pecans
3 Tablespoons chevre crumbles
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon sherry or rice wine
2 Tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar
1/2 - 1 Tablespoon stone ground dijon mustard
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 375. In a mixing bowl pour the maple syrup onto the pecans and toss to coat thoroughly.
2. When oven is hot, bake pecans for 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, zest one of the oranges into the brussel sprouts. Season sprouts with salt and pepper. Toss sprouts, zest and seasonings with 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the olive oil.
3. Set toasted pecans aside to cool. Turn the oven up to 400. Spread sprouts in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the sprouts are thoroughly tender.
4. Zest the other orange and squeeze the juice from both oranges into a blender or food processor. Add shallots, remaining olive oil, stripped off thyme leaves (discard woody stems), dijon mustard, rice wine/sherry and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pulse in 3 second bursts until shallot has been thoroughly incorporated into the dressing.
5. Toss sprouts with dressing and sprinkle with chevre crumbles and 1/2 cup toasted pecans. Serve as a starter or side dish and enjoy.

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