I’m often asked what my favorite thing is to cook, and I always answer “seasonal vegetables.” I’m smitten by Jose Andres’ latest veggie-themed cookbook, Vegetables Unleashed. It provides some new methods and concepts for vegetable cookery, and offers simple ways to prepare vegetables that look extravagant.
A recent trip to Florida gave me the opportunity to eat at Jaleo, a restaurant created by Chef Andres. It was tapas-style, and my favorite dish was made with Brussels sprouts and green grapes. The combination of flavors and textures—from sweet to salty to crisp—made a lasting impression. I knew it was a dish I would be trying back in Peoria, especially with the fall seasonality of Brussels sprouts.
Brussels sprouts are members of the brassica family, which includes turnips, kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kohlrabi. The sweetness from the apricots, apples and grapes in this recipe helps tame the taste of the sulfur compounds often found in the brassicas. Vegetables Unleashed also inspired this month’s cocktail recipe!
Brussels Sprouts with Green Grapes, Apples & Apricots
Makes 4 servings
- 12 dried apricot halves, cut into
- ¼-inch dice
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine, apple cider or sherry vinegar
- 2 pounds Brussels sprouts
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced
- 12 green grapes, halved lengthwise
- 2 strips bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
- Place the apricots in a small bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover. Let them sit until they plump, 10 to 20 minutes. Drain the apricots and set aside.
- Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar to make the dressing.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, separate and detach all the leaves from each Brussels sprout: Use a paring knife to trim the stem, removing one layer of leaves, then trim the stem further, removing another layer, continuing until all the leaves are removed. Discard the stems.
- Once the water is boiling, add the Brussels sprout leaves; cook them just until they turn bright green and soften slightly, one minute. Using a colander, drain the Brussels sprouts.
- Toss the leaves in a large bowl with the plumped apricots, chopped apples, grapes, crumbled bacon, the dressing, sea salt and pepper. Divide the salad among individual plates. Garnish each plate with the chopped chives.
Coffee & Champagne
Makes 2 cocktails
- 1¼ cups ground coffee
- 4 cups cold water
- 1 oz fresh lemon juice
- 2 oz brandy
- 1 oz honey
- 6 oz cava, prosecco or other dry
- sparkling wine
- Lemon slices for garnish
- Combine the coffee and water in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight to make a cold brew coffee concentrate.
- Strain the cold brew concentrate through a coffee filter. This concentrate will last three days in the refrigerator.
- To a cocktail shaker, add two ounces of the cold brew coffee concentrate, lemon juice, brandy, honey and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice.
- Top off with dry sparkling wine and garnish with a lemon wedge. PM