Brussels sprouts caesar salad
Summer is finally in full swing and now that the lockdown is being eased a little more, we can thankfully spend time in the garden and open spaces with loved ones. Eating alfresco has always seemed such a wonderfully Mediterranean conceit; the warm evenings, late dinner on a veranda beneath a scented fig tree whilst the sounds of the waves crash against the shore. A cool glass of rosé in one hand and a prosciutto and oregano scented crushed tomato bruschetta in the other. The British version of this used to involve a warm can of lager and a raw-on-the-inside-but-burnt-on-the-outside chicken drumstick whilst we dashed inside from the rain – but I feel we have evolved slightly when it comes to eating outdoors.
One of things I think we still struggle with is an interesting array of salads. To me the salad is as much the main event as the meat. It can in fact be a meal in itself and so I thought I’d share four of my favourite salads. They’re mostly quick and easy to make, although one or two need a little time but believe me it will be worth it.
Start by boiling a kettle, then trim your Brussels and cut half of them in half and the rest into quarters and place them into a pan. Once the kettle has boiled pour the water over the sprouts, sprinkle on a little salt and set aside for at least five minutes. Once you’re happy with the ‘bite’ of your Brussels (they should be tender but still have a crunch) take them out of the boiling water and plunge them into iced water and set aside.
Crush the garlic with a teaspoon of salt and the fresh lemon thyme until you have a salty, lemony paste, then add it to the oil. Leave to infuse for at least an hour. Pre-heat the oven to 200˚C and cut the bread into rough crouton-sized cubes. Toss with a little of the oil to coat, and then bake for about 15 min until golden and crisp – set aside.
Add a tablespoon of grated parmesan to a large salad bowl, then using a balloon whisk, beat in the yolk, and gradually the rest of the garlic-infused oil until you have a thick-ish dressing. Stir in the lemon juice and two tablespoons of mayonnaise until you have a sweet, creamy sauce.
Now you’re ready to assemble your salad. Drain the sprouts well and throw them into the bowl with the dressing, get your hands stuck in and toss them through the sauce, pulling off some of the outer leaves of the sprouts and leaving them loose in the bowl. Add the croutons and some fresh parmesan shavings – and even some avocado if you like, and then you’re ready to serve.
Eat and of course, enjoy!