The flavor of uncooked Brussels sprouts is sweet and fresh, and that’s why I love this recipe. The maple syrup and wine vinegar dressing, bursting with diced apples, walnuts and bacon (if you like), is prepared sizzling hot and poured over thinly shaved raw sprouts to soften and season them. The results are a simple, vivid and delicious dish, perfect for your holidays or pretty much any day!
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 strips bacon, diced (optional)
14-18 medium Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced leeks or minced shallot
1 crisp apple such as Cameo, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady or Gala, diced
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, hazelnuts or pecans
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Place the mustard seeds in a small bowl and cover with the vinegar. Let soak for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Strain the soaked seeds and reserve the vinegar.
Trim the stem end of the sprouts and remove any tough outer leaves. Run the whole sprouts through the 4 mm blade of your food processor, or simply cut them thinly, crosswise, with a knife.
Cook the bacon until crisp and drain on paper towels.
In a medium sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the leeks and apples. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the leeks are starting to become translucent. Add the walnuts, cranberries, mustard seeds, reserved vinegar, maple syrup, celery seeds and clove. Season with salt and pepper. Stir over the heat until the dressing is nice and hot, about 1 minute.
Immediately pour the hot dressing over the shaved Brussels sprouts and toss in the cooked bacon if you are using it.
Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper, and maybe a splash of vinegar or oil, if desired. The salad is perfect now, but will be optimal for eating after resting for a few minutes to soften the sprouts and blend the flavors.