Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranate SaladNovember 17, 2017 By Cathy — 4 Comments
This crunchy, tangy, salad is what your Thanksgiving spread is missing.
With Thanksgiving less than a week away (not sure how that happened), it’s time to take stock and reflect on everything for which we’re thankful. Let’s just assume my list starts with all the prerequisites…family and health and of course YOU, my cherished readers. So here’s the rest of my list in no order whatsoever.
- Netflix. Well, let’s call it TV in general. Remember when (or maybe I’m a fossil) the only time you saw a legit movie star on the small screen was when they were guest starring on Love Boat or Fantasy Island? It was mildly awful and usually depressing that this was the swan song of so many greats. Thank god Isaac could mix a potent cocktail for all those nightcaps. And now we’re so spoiled by so many binge-worthy, taut, well-acted stories that I can barely keep up. From Mindhunter to Ozark to Rectify to Bloodline to Ray Donovan, I can barely get off the couch and into the kitchen. And as I glance at that short list it’s not lost on me that I’m clearly drawn to bleak and complicated. *Note to self…may need to increase those therapy visits in 2018.
- Women. Let it be said that 2017 is the year that women rediscovered their voice. From little pink hats to marches across the country to literally putting a voice and a face to sexism and sexual assault, this was a momentous year. As dejected as I felt for most of the year, from the ashes rises the phoenix. I’m gratefully in awe and inspired by those women that have literally risked it all to speak out for what should be a fundamental right.
- Democracy. As I reflect on the year in some ways I’ve never been prouder to be an American. I live in a country where anyone (and I mean anyone) can be elected president. White, black, and yes, even orange. Am I happy with the outcome of our election? Not by a long shot. But the fact that I can shout that from the rooftops and not be knocked down is so important. In many ways I’ve become a better American because of, or in spite of, our new president. I’m definitely more aware, informed and determined to be involved in the process. This past year has also been a tremendous learning experience for my kids and will hopefully encourage them to find their own voice and understand the power behind it.
- Jason Isbell and The National. My younger son has a habit of posing impossible “would you rather questions” on a regular basis. “Would you rather have extra long arms or extra long legs?” ” Would you rather have the ability to fly or breathe underwater?” But when he posed ” Would you rather never hear music again or never eat?”, well I was rendered speechless. (And just to clarify…he said that in this case food isn’t necessary to survive.) Well, dare I say it…I chose music. It was literally Sophie’s Choice, but gun to head, I couldn’t bear the silence. And my two obsessions of this past year are Jason Isbell and The National. They’ve kept me company while I knead dough and chop onions. While I make sure our bellies are full, they feed my soul.
- Friends, new and old. My kids are getting to that age where my presence is required less and less. I fulfill all my duties as a cook, laundress and chauffeur, but that whole hovering over and wiping up bit has thankfully ended. This means I have a greater capacity and plain old time to spend with friends. This past year I’ve reconnected with high school friends, bent the ear of my tried and true, and have literally (okay, figuratively) bruised my ribs from laughing with my local buddies. And I’m grateful for every second.
- Lettuce. There was a time when if you had two choices of lettuce at your market you were “fancy”. Now I have as hard a time selecting leafy greens as I do a nail polish when I head in for a mani/pedi. Seriously…iceberg, romaine, chards, kales, bitter, sweet, butter and Boston. It’s a good time to be a food blogger and an even better time to be a hungry leaf eating girl.
- A dining table with extra leaves. Over the years we’ve become the default host for many of the holidays, especially Thanksgiving. Suits us well, as it’s my favorite meal to cook and we have a dining table that can accommodate plenty. There’s something about pulling the table apart, sliding in the leaves and positioning those extra chairs around that puts me immediately into the holiday spirit. Now to see those chairs filled with all my favorite people…!
So that’s just a smidge of what I’m thankful for this year. I’m also grateful that I have a place to rant and rave and vomit up all of these thoughts. And if I punctuate them with a recipe I feel like you’ll give me a little grace. So here’s a last minute add to your holiday menu. It’s crunchy, fresh, festive and blissfully takes zero oven space. It’s a brussels sprouts salad dotted with nuggets of crispy pancetta, apple, and pomegranate seeds. It’s pretty, it’s tasty, it can be made ahead(ish) and offers that teensy bit of balance our Thanksgiving table requires.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. If you’re looking for me I’ll be singing happily off-key to Jason Isbell while mincing onions.
- 4 oz pancetta, cut into ¼ inch dice
- 1½ lbs brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and brown outer leaves removed
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 apple, cored and cut into matchsticks
- 1 Tbsp parsley, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Buttermilk Dressing
- 2 Tbsp mayonaise
- 1½ Tbsp stone ground mustard
- 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ cup buttermilk
- Cook pancetta in a small saute pan until crisp and drain on a paper towel lined plate.
- Halve the brussels sprouts from top to stem and then lay each half cut side down and slice very thinly.
- Combine brussels sprouts, pancetta, pomegranate seeds, apples and parsley in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss well.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Buttermilk Dressing: Whisk all the ingredients together until emulsified.
- * Salad can be dressed and held for 2 hours before serving.