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Nov. 19, 2019 | Tuesday
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Cooking with Collin: Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Red Pepper Salad
Some of the ingredients you will need. (Collin Goodine/Niagara Now)

Collin Goodine / Special to The Lake Report

As a child I was never a fan of the food that my family enjoyed, and like many other children I did not eat my Brussels sprouts. Throughout my childhood I tried Brussels sprouts done many ways and not until I was an adult eating at Momofuko in Toronto did I find the way I like Brussels best.

This recipe is a simple version of the fried Brussels I experienced in T.O. and I have modified it to fit with the harvest season here in Niagara. The salad below is great for holidays and family gatherings as the recipe feeds four to six people.

There are a lot of moving parts to this one so it can be done in stages and allow the task to be less daunting the day of your dinner.

The nuts and onions can be done up to a week in advance and the rest a few days before you are ready to assemble.

Brussels Sprout and Roasted Red Pepper Salad, with Honey-candied Walnuts and Pickled Onion

Step 1: Pickled Onions

Ingredients:

2 Red onions

1 cup Red wine vinegar

1 cup Water

1/2 cup Sugar

¼ cup Kosher sea salt

2 Bay leaves

Pinch allspice

Directions:

Peel and cut red onions in half.

Thinly julienne the red onion and place into heat-proof container just big enough to hold. (Tupperware works well.)

Add other ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil.

Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved and pour mixture over top of the onions.

Set aside and cool.

Store in the fridge for weeks, as long as it is in the vinegar liquid.

Step 2: Honey-candied Walnuts

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Honey

1/4 cup Sugar

Pinch of salt

2 cups Walnuts

1 tbsp Olive oil

Directions:

In a bowl mix the honey, sugar and salt. Add walnuts and mix well with a spoon. Place onto a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Bake at 350F for 5-7 minutes or until golden and not too dark. Allow to fully cool, then store in air-tight container until ready for use.

Step 3: Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Red Pepper Salad

Ingredients:

48 Brussels sprouts

Salt and pepper to taste

Canola oil for frying (as needed)

Now that you have the onions and the nuts made and set aside you can relax until a day or two before your dinner, at which point you can prepare the rest.

You can definitely prepare this the morning or day of your dinner, so that it does not occupy a lot of the fridge, it should not take too much time.

Just make sure that you fry the Brussels sprouts right before you serve the salad so that they remain crispy and warm.

Directions:

Clean Brussels sprouts, cut off the bottom and cut in half. Heat a pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the Brussels, about 3-5 minutes.

Place into cold water right away to bring out the bright green colour and stop the cooking process. Strain Brussels place onto paper towel to dry.

Set aside in a container covered in the fridge.

Preparing the salad:

2 heads Frisee lettuce

4 Red peppers

1 cup Diced pancetta

Directions:

Clean frisee ahead of time by trimming the bottom, rinsing well and drying on a paper towel or in a salad spinner. Place into fridge till ready to use.

Oil the outside of the peppers and bake in oven at 400F for 20 minutes. Then torch the skin (using a brule torch) until charred well.

Put into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 15 minutes or longer. Peel off the skin, take out the seed and stem. Cut into thin strips.

Set aside until ready to use.

Dice pancetta into small cubes. Place pancetta into a frying pan and cook until desired crispiness, then place onto a paper towel to soak up any grease. Place into a container in the fridge.

Method for serving:

All above ingredients can be prepared a day or two ahead and held in the fridge or, in the case of the walnuts, outside the fridge.

The pickled onions and nuts can be put on liberally or in a small quantity. They are both good items to have around the house to put on cheese boards or other types of dishes.

Directions:

In a large skillet or frying pan, use oil to cover the entire bottom of the pan.

On low/medium heat, heat the oil for 2-3 minutes.

Carefully add the Brussels sprouts and fry until crispy, turning periodically. When done, add the pancetta.

On a large platter, arrange the frisee on the bottom to act like a bed for the Brussels sprouts.

Add the fried Brussels sprouts, then the red pepper and top with the candied nuts. Garnish with pickled onions.

Grating a firm cheese (Manchego) over top would be nice if you desire.

Bon appetit.

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