This past Sunday, my mom gave a concert in Suttons Bay. We went up to attend, and my mom graciously invited me to sing with her on a couple of pieces. What an absolute joy to be able to sing together. You want to talk about voices blending? Try being related! It's like nothing else. The program was all sacred, and there was a free-will offering collected to raise money for homeless teens living in the area, in order to provide them with turkeys for their Thanksgiving celebration. The goal had been to raise $300, which would have covered that cost. We ended up raising $575. I was speechless.
On Saturday afternoon, we drove up to Brys Estate on Old Mission Peninsula for a wine tasting and food pairing event. It was a beautiful day - sunny, cool and clear. The views were unbeatable.
We got home, and I started putting everyone to work on dinner: Dad shelling pistachios ("Three quarters of a cup of shelled pistachios is more than you would think!"), hubby peeling potatoes, sister grating cheese. It's amazing how fast dinner comes together when you have 5 pairs of hands! (If you're doing mental math right now, my sister's boyfriend was also there helping. Calm down.)
I first had this brussels sprout salad at my friend Joey's restaurant, Franks 'n' Dawgs. I might never have ordered it if he hadn't just given me a taste one time. I mean, you can't blame me. Who in their right mind would order a salad of brussels sprouts when the menu boasts things like the "Tur-doggin" (Turkey & date sausage, crispy duck confit, herb garlic aioli, pickled onion relish & pickled carrots), "Krazy Kimchi" (Spicy beef sausage, braised short rib & turnips, kimchi, wild rice & basi), and "Peking Duck" (Duck & sesame sausage, pickled cucumber, hoisin aioli, scallion, crispy peking duck skin & puffed rice)? Many of the sausages are house-made daily, and they're served on freshly baked, buttered, and toasted New England-style lobster rolls. Certainly, the salad is NOT the thing to order here.
Or is it?
I am so glad I tried this, because it completely transformed the way that I see this humble vegetable! Don't get me wrong, I've never been a hater. My dad started me on steamed sprouts early on, and since then I have fallen in love with their roasted counterparts. But raw was a new concept to me. This salad is the perfect antidote to sad, wilty lettuce salads when the weather turns cooler. Refreshing and satisfying, with a zing of lemon and a crunch of pistachios, this is the perfect salad to have alongside something not-so-light. Like the fabulous sausages at Franks 'n' Dawgs, or fried chicken and mashed potatoes at home.
Brussels Sprout Salad
1 bag brussels sprouts
3/4 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup of olive oil
pepper to taste
finely chopped fresh dill, to taste (about 3 tablespoons for me)
Chop the tough ends off of the sprouts, halve them, and slice them thinly. (This was a revelation to me. It's like a tiny cabbage!) Place sprouts in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss. Serve with something indulgent. It's all about balance.