It has been hot again this week, so I have been serving up salads. Some of our favorite salads feature steamed and seared garlicky vegetables such as French green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Yes, I really did say Brussels sprouts in salad. My husband is one of the world’s Brussels sprout haters, unless they’re cooked this way.
The basic technique is to put vegetables which have been cut into similar sized pieces, into a pan with a small amount of water, some minced garlic, and some salt. Bring the lot to a simmer, and cook (adjusting the cooking time with the amount of water in the pan or a lid) such that the veggies are cooked by the time the water has all evaporated off. Add some oil or margarine (I use Earth Balance) to the pan, and let the cooked veggies brown on at least one side, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
Watch out for evaporation of the vegetables themselves in this recipe (most notably when family walks past them as they’re cooling). I once had to make something else for dinner when the vegetables all disappeared before they were cool enough to be incorporated into the salad!
I really should point out that I use this recipe as more of an outline than an absolute. If I have broccoli and French green beans, but no Brussels sprouts, I use them instead. If I’m feeling virtuous, I leave off the dressing. Frozen French green beans work well too; they don’t need any water to cook, they just steam in their own ice melt with the garlic and salt. 🙂
12 oz Brussels sprouts, outside leaves removed, and cut in half (or prepared French green beans, or cauliflower, or broccoli)
1/2 tsp salt
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp Earth Balance margarine, or oil
1 ripe avocado
12 oz salad leaves (I used baby spinach for this rendition)
4 – 8 oz halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup black olives, halved
Lightly sweetened vinaigrette
Place the Brussels in 1/4″ water with the garlic and salt, cover and bring to a simmer. Once the sprouts are nearly cooked, remove the lid and allow the remaining water to evaporate off (conversely, if they need to cook longer, add more water), stirring as needed to prevent sticking.
Run a knife around the avocados from stem to bottom, and twist to separate the halves. Remove the pit by holding the avocado in your left hand, and whacking the middle of the knife blade into the pit and twisting it to release. While still in the skin, cut the avocado flesh into 4 or 5 slices top to bottom, and 4 or 5 slices side to side so that when you scoop the flesh out with a spoon, it comes out cuboid(ish).
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, tossing to coat with the dressing (if using).
Serves 2 as a main salad, 4 as a side salad.