In my most prolific year gardening (by which I really mean the only year that my efforts were mostly successful), when the cucumber vines yielded so many petite pickling cukes that we ate them for a full year and tomatoes plants sagged with the weight of fruit, stalks of Brussels sprouts rose from one of my raised beds with petite little balls protruding from their sturdy expanse.
I was so excited for my homegrown sprouts, watching with excitement as the stalks grew, sometimes a little askew. New to gardening, and excited that anything was growing in my little raised beds at all, I waited, and waited, and waited some more … but those little balls never matured into the robust Brussels sprouts I hoped for. The warmth of summer gave way to a brisk fall and then the cold of winter. All the time, I hoped that if I waited just a little longer, they’d grow a little more. But of course they didn’t. Once the weather turned cold, growth ceased altogether.
Finally, I cut the stalks, removed the itty bitty Brussels sprouts and ate them — probably roasted or sauteed. All those months of growing yielded maybe a half portion of sprouts, so I mixed them with some from the bulk bin of a local grocery store.
That year, I discovered that my favorite vegetable (yes, that’s Brussels sprouts) is a big commitment to grow. They take months to mature, and each stalk only produces a generous handful — or a few — of sprouts. Of course, some of this was undoubtedly due to my own inexperience with gardening. Perhaps if I’d known more about soil pH levels or proper growing procedures, my sprouts would have been more impressive. But whatever caused my sprouts to grow to such small proportions, I decided that this is one veggie I am happy to leave tot he expert growers. For this, I say a big thank you to all the farmers who dutifully grow them, because I do adore Brussels sprouts so.
(How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.)
Why am I talking about Brussels sprouts today? Because they are in season right now. And that means it’s time to enjoy them in as many different ways as you can.
In this Brussels sprouts recipe, fresh shredded Brussels sprouts (slice them thinly with a knife or use the slicing attachment for your food processor) are mixed with sweet clementine segments, tangy dried cranberries and meaty pecans before being tossed with a tangy shallot vinaigrette.
This is a salad built for winter.
Do you love Brussels sprouts? What’s your favorite way to enjoy them?
- 3 cups shredded fresh Brussels sprouts
- 2 clementines, segmented and halved
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup chopped pecans
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp vinegar
- ½ tsp dijon mustard
- 1-2 dashes hot sauce
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large mixing bowl, add the Brussels sprouts, clementines, dried cranberries and pecans.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the finely chopped shallot, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and mustard. Whisk in the hot sauce, salt and pepper. Taste, and adjust seasonings as desired. Pour over the Brussels sprouts and toss to combine.
- Enjoy immediately, or chill until ready to serve.