Here’s the thing about Brussels sprouts recipes: Any alleged nastiness, including stinkiness and mushiness, can easily be avoided simply by cooking the Brussels sprouts properly. Or, in the case of this lovely appetizer salad, by not cooking them at all. That’s right. Leave ’em raw. When thinly shaved so as to be nearly translucent, the little cousin to the cabbage can flaunt its mildly nutty, really quite lovely taste. It’s an ingredient that plays nicely with others, as evidenced by the dance going on among the jumble of sweet and crisp and nutty and sharp and silken smooth in this salad.–Skye Gyngell
LC Celery Loathers Commiserate Note
Some of us find this salad to be just as lovely minus the celery. Even lovelier, perhaps.
Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Aged Pecorino, and Prosciutto
- 6 Brussels sprouts
- 2 or 3 stalks celery (just the sweet white hearts)
- 4 to 6 ounces Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- Small handful flat-leaf parsley leaves very finely chopped
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 to 12 slices prosciutto or speck
- About 20 shelled hazelnuts roasted (optional)
- Remove and discard the outer leaves from the Brussels sprouts. Wash the remaining sprouts and pat dry. Using a hand-held slicer or a mandoline, slice the Brussels sprouts as thinly as you can, so they fall away into ribbons (as much as a Brussels sprout can be ribbon-like).
- Peel the celery with a swivel vegetable peeler to remove any stringy bits. Slice it lengthwise into long shards with the slicer or mandoline or slice it by hand on the bias.
- Slice the cheese using a sharp knife. Odd-size slices—some very fine, some slightly thicker—are nicest in terms of taste and texture. When in doubt, err on the side of thin shards.
- Place the shaved Brussels sprouts, almost all of the celery, and cheese in a bowl, and season with a little salt and pepper. Add the lemon zest and juice and almost all of the parsley and toss to combine. Drizzle with 3/4 of the olive oil and toss together lightly with your fingers to combine.
- Place a slice of speck or prosciutto on each plate. Divide the salad among the plates. Drape the remaining speck or prosciutto over the top (use less if serving as an appetizer, more if relying on this as a lunch). Finish with a couple slices of celery, the remaining parsley, and the hazelnuts, if desired. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and serve immediately.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I loved this salad! Raw Brussels sprouts are a novel idea. The combination of ingredients is lovely, light, and fresh-tasting. Next time, I’d go easy on the added salt, as the speck and Parmesan are already salty. Also, I used a bit less Parmesan than the recipe called for. I’m planning to make it again when there will be a few more people over for dinner, and will probably double the recipe. It’s so easy to make.
I must confess, I was hesitant to try this recipe because I’m lazy and it looked like a lot of chopping and slicing. Imagine my surprise at discovering how easy it is, what fun it is, and just how good it is! I’m always a sucker for something out of the ordinary, and this most definitely qualifies. Its flavor is so refreshing and has just the right amount of pop from the lemon zest. The Parmesan gives it a rounded, mellow flavor that plays off the zing of the Brussels sprouts. And just to reign in the fear of the unknown, the celery and speck give us that down-home, easily recognizable flavor of comfort. Don’t be shy—or lazy, as in my case —and give this recipe a try. You’ll be amazed, I promise.
The Brussels sprouts add a nice balance to the crisp celery and salty, savory Parmesan cheese. The slightly smoky, rich speck complements the fresh flavors of the other ingredients, while the simple lemon dressing allows each ingredient to shine, without masking the overall experience. This is a very nice, colorful, and well-balanced appetizer salad.
Originally published November 16, 2010