Queen of the indie food landscape here in L.A. for years, chef Jessica Koslow of Sqirl has finally released a cookbook, Everything I Want To Eat that it just that. Buy it for her 100 market-driven dishes, pour over it for the amazing photojournalistic shots of East L.A. diners.
Once considered the ultimate veggie underdog, Brussels sprouts are now the cruciferous cool guy at every restaurant in town. Jessica gives them the roastiest, most delicious treatment here in a salad with hazelnuts and plenty of butter…
A lot of chefs use the great trick of highlighting an ingredient by using it in two different ways within the same dish. If you’re making a beet salad, you could emulsify some of the cooked beets and use them in the dressing. You can do this easily with both fruits and vegetables. In this recipe, I borrow that trickery and use it as a way to get more pear into the dish.
A note on Warren Pears: Warrens are super sweet and have a velvety, grit-free texture like butter that gives this dressing great body. If you can’t find any, use red d’Anjou.
Sqirl’s Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad
2 to 3 Warren pears (about 1.5 lbs)
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
fine sea salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 lb 10 oz Brussels sprouts, trimmed
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
¾ cup pomegranate arils (from ½ medium fruit)
¹⁄³ cup toasted chopped hazelnuts
¼ cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
Cut the pears lengthwise into quarters, scoop out the cores, and trim off the stems.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a wide pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 pear (4 quarters), cut-sides down, to the pan and cook until lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Rotate and caramelize the other cut sides for another 1 to 2 minutes, until tender but not mushy.
Transfer to a food processor. Add the champagne vinegar, honey, and ½ teaspoon salt. Blend until completely smooth. Then, with the motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil and continue blending until the dressing is emulsified.
Cut 1 pound of the Brussels sprouts in half (reserve the others for later). Doing so will cause some of the outermost leaves to fall off. Keep the loose leaves in a little pile on your cutting board.
Return the pan to the stove and heat over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. As soon as the foam subsides, add the cut Brussels to the pan, arranging each one cut-side down. (I know this seems like a pain, but it will ensure that the sprouts cook evenly.) Cook, without stirring the sprouts, for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip, season evenly with ½ teaspoon salt, and cook the rounded sides for another 2 minutes.
Add the reserved outer leaves and the sherry vinegar, and shake the pan to distribute. Cook for 10 more seconds, just to wilt the leaves, then transfer to a plate.
Shave the remaining raw Brussels sprouts thinly on a mandoline (fingers, be careful!). This takes forever with a knife, but a food processor fitted with a slicing/shredding blade would also work.
Toss the shaved sprouts into a large bowl. Add the pomegranate seeds, hazelnuts, parsley, about three-quarters of the dressing, and ½ teaspoon salt. Toss to coat everything well. Taste, adding a bit more salt or dressing, if you want.
Thinly slice the remaining pear quarters. Serve the salad with the pan-roasted Brussels and the sliced pears tucked in. Finish with a big squeeze of lemon juice, and a handful of parsley on top.