Many an awe inspiring dish comes together perfectly at a restaurant because of seasonality – “Brussels sprouts! What am I going to do with all these dang sprouts!?” Well, Bungalow 44 in downtown Mill Valley created a drool worthy warm fall salad with them. I attempted to recreate it adding heaps of Brussels sprouts leaves, boiled egg, bacon, shallots and a perfect toss of mustard and balsamic sauteed up. It is fantastically meaty but somehow maintains a sense of being healthy and nutrient rich. Like many restaurant dishes, sometimes this salad can be heavy on the grease so my version cuts the grease and salt a bit and the result is a more robust Brussels flavor. This dish can also be made without the bacon for vegetarians, and you still get to enjoy the Brussels in a savory, deep balsamic mustard sauce. It becomes crave worthy by any Brussels fan. The bacon version has recently made it on the table at a dinner party I hosted and one where I was a guest (evidence after the jump.)
Warm Brussels, Bacon & Egg Salad
I just can’t say enough about this salad and once I played around with what I thought the recipe might be, I came across an imitation that in my mind is perfect. Bring this to any fall party or make for dinner and people will become raving fans. Great as leftovers as well.
2 lbs organic Brussels sprouts (larger ones work well for this recipe)
1/2 lb. raw thick cut bacon
A few shallots, you should have at least 1/2 cup worth sliced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Dijon mustard/German mustard
Sea salt to taste
Pepper to taste
For the vegetarian version – I omit the bacon, use two tablespoons of olive oil and at least a tblsp. of smoked salt and a dash of Worcestershire sauce.
I start by boiling the eggs, you want them to be hard boiled but not tough. I bring my water to a boil first then plunk the eggs in carefully using a spoon, you want to cook for at leave 5 minutes on boil, then I let them sit in the hot water until they are ready to be added to the salad. Then I prep my Brussels sprouts, because, let’s face it, they are the most fun! They are also a lot of work for this salad and can be tricky getting the leaves separated from the sprout. I rinse my sprouts off, cut off the stem and peel away any bitten or unsavory looking leaves. The larger sprouts work well because you want plenty of large leaves to peel away. Once you get to the center you cut in half the remaining bud.
After all my leaves are prepped I generally put the bacon on my Le Creuset stovetop grill – love this piece of kitchenware so much, can’t say enough about it, gives a grill flavor and marks to food – and cook it down, about 3 minutes on each side or on it’s way to firm with some crispy bits of fat. I also make sure to get leaner pieces of bacon because I love the meaty deep burgundy bits in this salad. When your bacon is cooked rescue at least three tablespoons of bacon grease to sautee your salad.
I do really love shallots, this salad can be made with red onion as well for that caramely taste, but I am partial to shallots. My eyes tear up horrible when slicing onions so I refrigerate mine to cut down on the release of their magically horrendous onion gas that makes it into my seeing globes producing salt water. I peel them and use a mandoline for slicing. This salad works well with sliced rather than chopped onions. Heat up your bacon grease in a large deep saute pan, my favorite piece of ovenware to prepare this dish with is my Le Creuset 3 1/2 Quart Braiser, I’ve sung its prayers before and will probably continue for the rest of my life – how long it will last! The onions go in first, on medium heat, allow them to get on their way to translucent. Add your prepped Brussels sprouts, turn the heat up and let them pop and brown for a minute or two, turning, then repeat. While these are cooking combine your balsamic vinegar with your mustard. Add mustard to the dijon until you have 1/3 cup of sauce. Whisk it up. Rinse and cool your eggs, peel them, rinse with cool water again. Cut into eighths. Discard yolks from two of the eggs (by discard I mean, feed to your begging doggies or add to your compost bucket ). Your Brussels should be tender by now but not overcooked with some browned bits. Add the balsamic mustard sauce and stir thoroughly coating, turn your heat to low. Chop your cooked bacon into pieces and add to the Brussels along with the cut egg. Stir for a minute or so. Remove from heat, add a few grinds of sea salt and pepper.
Friends thoroughly enjoyed – you should have seen my friends’ eyes when she realized I had emulated her favorite salad from Bungalow 44!
Dinner party with my Miss Penn neighbors. I just have to talk about the menu we had that night, to die for! This salad, pecan encrusted pork loin and I brought some of my Apple Butter as a sauce, roasted garlic potatoes and of course plenty of wine!