Happy New Year! I have a good feeling about 2014. The last year was one of change and transition as my husband and I moved from America to a small town in Ireland. This year holds so much promise! I’m eager to discover everything Ireland has to offer– the artisanal food producers, the natural wonders of Irish landscapes, the culture of the Irish people. I look forward to savoring each season fully and have plans to plant a garden. The theme in my kitchen for 2014 is:
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
I’m not a nutritionist, but more and more I’m beginning to understand that the food I eat has a direct effect on my health. In the beginning, food was only for pleasure. Now I believe food may have the power not just to promote health, but to heal. I’ll explore this idea here on La Domestique throughout the year with delicious recipes that celebrate the seasons and nourish the body.
This first recipe for 2014 “Brussels Sprout Salad with Hazelnuts, Thyme and a Pink Lady,” is a refreshing surprise in the dead of winter. Lightly steamed Brussels sprouts are sweet with a pleasant crunch. These tiny cabbages pair beautifully with slices of tart, floral apple and toasted hazelnuts. Delicate thyme leaves lend a mellow herbal note. It’s a satisfying salad that will keep you going without weighing you down.
Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are known to lower cholesterol, but this ability is enhanced when they are cooked by steaming method.
Glucosinolates found in Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables have anti-cancer effects in the body.
These brassicas are high in fiber, Vitamin C and Vitamin K and a good source of other nutrients including folate, iron, Vitamin A, potassium, protein, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids.
Brussels Sprout Salad with Hazelnuts, Thyme and a Pink Lady
- 2 ounces/50g hazelnuts
- 8 ounces/250g Brussels sprouts
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons neutral flavored oil like rapeseed (aka canola)
- 2 teaspoons hazelnut oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 Pink Lady apple
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Toast the hazelnuts. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit. Scatter the nuts on a high-sided baking sheet and roast them in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the skins begin to turn darker brown and crack. Tip the hazelnuts into a kitchen towel and allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then rub off the skins with the towel as best you can.
Prepare the Brussels sprouts by trimming the stem end and removing the outer leaves, then shred them using a food processor and the coarse shredding disc (or thinly slice them with a knife). Fill a large pot with about an inch (2 cm) water and bring to a boil. Put the shredded Brussels sprouts in a steamer basket and place it in the pot, covered with the lid. Keep the pot at a simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes, tossing the Brussels sprouts once halfway through cooking. The steamed Brussels sprouts will be bright green and crisp-tender.
Just before the Brussels sprouts finish cooking, make the vinaigrette. Marinate the shallot with the apple cider vinegar and a pinch of sea salt in a medium bowl till softened, about 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in the hazelnut and rapeseed oil. While the Brussels sprouts are still warm, toss them in the vinaigrette. Allow the Brussels sprouts to soak up the vinaigrette while you thinly slice the apple and chop the hazelnuts. (If you’re concerned about the apple browning, toss the slices in lemon juice to prevent oxidization.)
To serve the salad, mound a tangle of dressed Brussels sprouts on the plate, topping with apple slices, thyme leaves and chopped hazelnuts. This salad is best served immediately, while all the flavors are still bright and fresh.