It was June when I started the brussels sprout seeds inside. I carefully filled little pots with seedling mix and made sure to keep them moist. Soon enough there was a push up from the soil and a little green leaf waving it’s head at me. I coddled these things, taking them outside to get a feeling of the breeze and bright sky they were soon going to be under, then bringing them back in before evening. Soon they were stalky little guys starting to outgrow their pots, but I didn’t have a single place to put them because by that time it was July and the whole garden was filled with plants already given there allotted space. I remember during that week I was either giving lettuces away or eating salad almost 3 times a day just so nothing was wasted and the brussels sprouts would soon have a place to occupy.
Once they were in their new home, I could tell they were happy. Large, dark leaves formed and they seemed to grow taller overnight. I was getting worried that I timed everything all wrong that on top of all the tomatoes, green beans, kale, lettuce, carrots, and parsnips, I was going to have a ton of brussels sprouts to eat too. Not that big of a problem I guess, but I really wanted these to make it at least to October. It wasn’t until September though that I started noticing the little sprouts begin to form right up on top of each leaf. As the days got shorter and colder everything began to grow at a much slower pace, and here I am now, with 8 stalks of big green brussles sprout plants. Granted, the aphid infestation I tried so hard to fend off still took over a few of the sprouts, with a good and thorough cleaning, they were perfectly edible.
I offer you up this gem of a salad days before Thanksgiving, not because I want you to change you traditional Thanksgiving meal, but because I think it offers up a nice balance to the days leading up to and after the big meal. But if you do happen to be looking for that one last salad idea, I think this one would be refreshingly welcome next to your mashed potatoes, green beans, and turkey. Enjoy friends and have a lovely holiday weekend!
Brussels Sprout Kale Salad with Pomegranate, Hazelnuts & Creamy Avocado Dressing / serves 4-6
1/2 lb. brussels sprouts, washed, dried and leaves separated
4-5 kale leaves (I used lacinato kale)
1 celery stalk
seeds from half a pomegranate *how to remove tip below
large handful of hazelnuts (about 1/3 cup), roasted
juice and zest from one small lemon, about 2-3 tablespoons juice
pinch of sea salt
Remove the kale leaves from the center stalk and cut into bite sized pieces. Roughly chop the brussels sprout leaves the same size, place in a large bowl.
Scoop out 1/2 the avocado and place in a small bowl with the lemon juice, zest, and a pinch of salt. Mash with the back of a fork then pour dressing over the greens. Using your hands, massage the dressing into the leaves and let everything sit while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Cube the rest of the avocado, thinly slice the celery and roughly chop the roasted hazelnuts. To serve top the salad with all the last ingredients, plus the pomegranate seeds and give a good toss at the table.
* My favorite way to remove pomegranate seeds without making a mess is to first remove the top where the skin folds up. Then, using a sharp knife, carefully score from one end to the other, making an X through the skin. Just be careful to not go all the way inside where the seeds are. Then grasping each side, give the pomegranate a good twist over a bowl of clean water. The sides should remove without too much trouble, then keeping the pomegranate submerged, use your hands to pull out the seeds and loosen as you go. The white parts will float to the top and the seeds to the bottom, making it easy to separate everything and bonus, nothing gets stained!