fredag 19 april 2013

Winter Brussel Sprout Salad

My little garden is a constant source of inspiration for the dinner table at our house. Being able to watch my food grow has made seasonal produce take on a whole new meaning. I grew my own tomatoes last year and the intense aroma of fruit ripening on the vine, still glistening with early morning dew, is absolutely incomparable to the 'fresh' product available in supermarkets. 

The unfortunate reality is that people want their food to be perfect in shape and completely blemish-free, which leads to large supermarket chains buying foods that store and travel well. Just take a look at the rock-hard and under-ripe avocados, and watery, white strawberries when you see them in the shop next and you'll know what I mean. It's great if you want a salad bowl full of fruit on display for three weeks but not so great if you're after real flavour.

Andrew Swallow, graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (the college of my dreams) and author of 'Mixt Salads' (a vibrant book jammed with seasonal salad recipes, some beautiful photography, tips on how to eat sustainably and create your own exciting salads!) inspired me to put a winter salad together.

I combined Brussels sprouts, crisp white icicle radish (you could of course use red radishes instead) and smoked bacon that I pan-fried until crunchy and caramelised with a horseradish dressing and some kvarg. Let's be honest, what doesn't taste better with smoked bacon in it? I really love the sharp, zingy flavour of kvarg here too as I think it works well with the bite of horseradish. The dressing is light and creamy, slightly sweet but mainly acidic.

Brussel sprout salad

Winter Brussels Sprout Salad

58 g Brussels sprouts, leaves only
21 g white radishes, thinly sliced
30 g smoked bacon, rind removed
30 g kvarg

Separate the Brussels sprout leaves by cutting off the stem and pulling it apart layer by layer. 
Cut the inner core into quarters.
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil.
Blanch Brussels sprout leaves into water until just cooked.
Remove and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process.
Drain and dry the leaves.
Slice the bacon into small, bite-sized pieces.
Pan-fry until crispy.
Reserve the rendered fat for the dressing.
Toss together the Brussels sprout leaves, sliced radish and smoked bacon.
Transfer onto a plate and dot around small amounts of kvarg.

Horseradish Dressing

3 g horseradish cream
3 g light syrup
7 g apple cider vinegar
1 g smoked bacon fat

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
Add a small pinch of salt and taste.
Drizzle over the salad.

Cathy Xiao Chen

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