Last summer we stopped for a snack at Whitefish Handcrafted Spirits. I ordered the first item on the menu – usually a good bet – a Brussels sprouts Caesar salad, along with a tasty handcrafted cocktail. I guess the idea of a warm salad made up of America’s most despised vegetable just got my attention. The cocktail was good, but the salad was delicious – a great mix of warm veggie goodness, crisp leafy bits and lemony Caesar. Hooked, I got to work on an easy, healthy, tasty version for Health Revolt.
Brussels sprouts are among the healthiest veggies around – they’re loaded with antioxidants, protein, fiber, as well as twenty vitamins, beta-carotene, folic acid, and magnesium. They’re also high in selenium, which is associated with reduced risks of certain cancers, as well as increased male virility. Often prescribed to improve digestive health in Chinese medicine, they’re tiny cabbages that grow beautifully on long stalks.
This easy Caesar dressing skips the uncooked egg. Why? Because I teach cooking classes at Cancer Support Community in Bozeman, and cancer patients need to skip eating undercooked or uncooked eggs, as the rest of us might consider. And because it’s delicious without it. I use avocado oil because it’s got a high smoking point (520 degrees F) so it’s ideal for searing the sprouts at a high heat for a nice brown crust without burning. Also the health benefits are a bit higher than other oils. I like using anchovy paste because it’s easy, omit it if you must, but please add some good quality salt. If you have a cast iron skillet, use it because it fortifies your food with iron.
In order for this dish to turn out, take care on two steps. First, you’re looking for a good caramelization on the Brussels sprouts. To get it, once you’ve trimmed your Brussels sprouts, halved them, heated your skillet and have added avocado oil, add the sprouts cut-side-down… and don’t move them! Let them caramelize for 5 to 7 minutes, then flip each one carefully and cook their backsides a bit more. Don’t let them cook too long or they’ll start smelling weird. Second, dress with the Caesar and garnish carefully with few squeezes of lemon along with lemon zest, red pepper flakes and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy this dish a warm salad or an exciting side dish – it’s zingy and healthy regardless.