Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Introducing your Salad to the Skillet, a Warmed Brussels Sprout Salad

My fridge has two phases, and only two phases. It is either a ghost town, containing only a few sparse items that I don't even remember purchasing; or stuffed to the gills, where it's impossible to find that one ingredient you're looking for, but here, have some buffalo style eggs, because that's a thing that exists. I'm convinced I have a phantom shopper, a bizarrely sadistic phantom shopper at that.
This weekend was one of those sparse phases, and I was left with some carrots, a bag of Brussels sprouts (season schmeason) and an interesting frozen blend of farro and red rice that I'd been wanting to play with. You can use any frozen/fresh grain variety you'd like. Cooked spelt berries would work nicely here, but even barely or a brown rice would do. Hell, you can even break out the couscous, but we all know that's not a grain. Since Brussels Sprouts are secretly part of the cabbage family, you could sub them out for kale or Napa cabbage. Flexibility is a beautiful thing.

Now I'm all for salads, especially with farmer's market season just opening up, but I wanted to jazz it up a little bit. Sure, salads are usually healthy, but why don't we toss a fried element in there for the heck of it? Fried things. Don't fight it. Embrace it.

Warmed Brussels Sprout Salad

1 cup Brussels Sprouts
2 large carrots
1 Spring onion or Scallion
2 cups of your favorite grain blend (Spelt berries, farro, brown rice)
Juice of one Lime
3 Tablespoons Earth Balance
Pistachios (optional)
Salt/Pepper to taste

Prep your veggies first. Cut the root ends off of your sprouts and discard. Shred the sprouts and set aside for later. 
Peel your carrots. Once the outer skin is gone, peel the flesh until you get to the cores (you'll notice the color change in the center) Set your ribbons aside.
Chop up your onion or scallion, while you're at it.
Cook your grain blend to package directions, or be a hero and do it from scratch. I'm an anti-hero, I microwaved mine and was done in two minutes. Who's laughing now?
Combine your grain, carrots, and onions in your serving bowl and mix thoroughly.
In a large heavy skillet, melt your earth balance over medium high heat. Yes, you could use olive oil, but I like the richness that the Earth Balance adds here.
Once melted, toss in the shredded sprouts and salt/pepper them to taste.
Leave them be for a few minutes, until they brown a little bit, then hit them with the juice of one lime; De-glazing style. See what we're doing here? The pseudo-butter acts as the oil, and the lime juice acts as the acid component/vinegar. We're dressing the salad in one fell swoop.
Pour the hot contents of the pan over your grain mixture, and combine.
I became obsessed with having seeds/nuts in my salad years ago, so I add pistachios here. I regret nothing.