Brussels Sprout Salad with Chile Lime Dressing
Inspiration comes full circle. Thank you.
Last summer I had the pleasure of dining at Departure in Portland, Oregon after meeting Chef Gregory Gourdet at the International Food Bloggers Conference. A night out with family, enjoying the views from the high-rise terrace overlooking the river and downtown, and while the skies were grey the company and food were both vibrant and alive. Our meal, plates shared for communal tasting were an eclectic mix of seafood, pork, and brussels sprouts. Each dish elevated with a Pan-Pacific Asian influence and a deft hand with the salty, sweet and umami properties, coxing our taste buds and minds to stop, savor, and enjoy what was before us. What fun dining with my foodie nephew and niece, where the food was entertainment, part and parcel to the convivial atmosphere.
The our server was charming and well informed, and indulged us like a scene from Portlandia when we asked questions about each dish. “Brussels sprouts, in July?” we asked. “Where did they come from?” Knowing all while that the growing season for these babies is normally winter or at best cooler season as they do not like the warmer temperatures. “California.” the reply. “The central coast on the bluffs of the Pacific Ocean.” (Ok, I added that part because in my Central California home the fields along Monterey Bay are plentiful with acres of artichokes and spouts grown year-round benefiting from the cool summer coastal fog.) But more to the point, I needed, yes, needed to know what the dressing was on these quick fried leaves, with cilantro. She headed into the kitchen and reported back that indeed, mint, garlic, fish sauce and cilantro were all key elements. But by the time we had finished the bowl, I was working my memory muscle to ingrain the flavor blend so I could recreate it at home.
My first attempt was tasty, but the proportions were not quite right. I had guessed correctly that there was also honey in the blend, balancing out the salty fish sauce and savory brightness of the garlic.
As fortune would have it Chef Gregory was featured in the 2013 January issue of Sunset magazine, and there, low and behold was his recipe for Chile Lime Dressing. While it featured a different paleo combination of roasted vegetables and pork with the beloved sprouts it was enough to go on, the secret of proportions revealed. I’ve used this dressing twice, once combining the brussels sprouts with multi-colored quinoa and red onion and for a warm sprout and citrus salad. This included the tang of sliced red onions and sweetness with pop of color offered by fresh Nantes baby carrots. The bright orange zing of clementine wedges made this salad a wonderful companion to grilled swordfish, but could easily hold up to pork or lamb.
Sometimes it is the simplest of things, in right combinations that make the dish. Making homemade dressing is so easy and takes a few fresh ingredients and pantry staples to whisk up oil and vinegar with some herbs. Next try substituting citrus juices to add variety to your salads or vegetables. Let inspiration guide you. You will be amazed at the difference fresh makes.
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 1 tablespoon Thai Fish Sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
- 1 or 2 Thai chiles or 1 serrano chile minced (I used 1 Thai Chile)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1½ lbs fresh brussels sprouts
- ½ red onion sliced
- 1 carrot cut on the diagonal/rounds
- 2 clementines (peel and segment)
- ½ cup fresh chopped cilantro
- Prep ingredients and blend until smooth in a food processor or blender.
- Trim and remove tough outer leaves of brussels sprouts, then separate each leaf until you get to the heart. Thin slice heart.
- Add 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy bottomed 12" skillet cook onions and carrots over high heat for 3 minutes.
- Add brussels sprouts and cook until slightly charred and wilted but still with good color.
- Mix the salad in a bowl with ¼ cup of the sauce. Add fresh chopped cilantro and orange segments (clementines).
- Serve warm. Add more sauce as desired.
- Sunset Recipes, Pork and Charred Brussels Sprouts with Chile Lime Sauce
- Departure Restaurant, Portland Oregon
I frequently participate in blogger community mingles, shared monthly baking and photography themes. This month’s theme of Homemade at Junglefrog Cooking Photography inspired a visual retake on making this salad and the dressing.