A few weeks back, some friends and I did a progressive dinner to celebrate one of our friends birthdays. It was so much fun! We started with appetizers and drinks at a friends house, moved on to one of our favorite spots for dinner and then finished the night at this trendy tapas bar for dessert. One of the highlights of the whole evening was being able to order my favorite salad of all time! It’s a staple on this restaurant’s menu and every time I go there, I must have it. I know what you’re thinking. Brussel sprouts, really? Your favorite salad is made of brussel sprouts? Yep. Hold your judgement until I’m done describing it. This salad takes brussel sprouts, chops them, wilts them down, sprinkles them with toasted pine nuts and tiny cubes of manchego cheese and drizzles the warm salad with sweet reduced balsamic vinegar. Ahhhh…it is heaven in your mouth and will make you a believer in brussel sprouts if you aren’t already.
So of course, my friend Abby (who is also a lover of this salad), said after the evening was over, “You must try and recreate this salad for the blog.” And here we are folks. I’m pretty proud of myself b/c this recipe has to be darn close to the one at the restaurant. Which means I can stuff myself with brussel sprouts without paying $15 a plate for it. Woohoo:) This dish is a little more fancy than my normal every day/family friendly fare, but it is worth the extra effort. And it is a great way to load this healthy veggie with tons of flavor. Give it a go and let me know what you think!
1 pound of brussel sprouts
1/4 c pine nuts
4 oz manchego cheese
1 Tbs olive oil
1 c balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs honey
Place small saucepan over medium heat and pour in balsamic dressing and honey.
Stir and let reduce for 25 minutes. You don’t need to stir it constantly just occasionally as you are preparing the rest of the salad. It will begin to thicken as it boils/reduces down to about 1/4 c. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place pan over medium/low heat and pour pine nuts in. Toast pine nuts, watching very carefully, for 3 minutes, stirring so they do not burn. Remove from heat and set aside.
Remove stems from brussel sprouts and discard. Chop sprouts very finely.
Place pan over medium/high heat with 1 Tbs olive oil. Place chopped brussel sprouts in pan and cook for 4-5 minutes until sprouts are wilted and slightly browned on edges. Remove from heat.
Season with salt and pepper. Dice cheese into small cubes. Toss pine nuts and cheese into brussel sprouts. Plate salad and drizzle with reduced balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately warm.