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+ servings

shaved brussels sprouts salad with warm maple-bacon vinaigrette

Rebecca Eisenberg
This salad is delicate but hearty thanks to a combination of thinly sliced raw brussels sprouts, crunchy bacon, candied nuts, dried cranberries, and shavings of parmesan to top it off.
The maple bacon vinaigrette can be prepared in advanced but is best served warm — the bacon fat solidifies at room temperature, nuke it for 15-20 seconds or whisk it in a small sauce pan over low heat before drizzling it over the top of the salad.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

Maple-Bacon Vinaigrette

  • cup bacon fat (reserved from making bacon, or use olive oil if not adding bacon)
  • cup olive oil (if you have ¼ cup bacon fat, skip the olive oil and just use the ¼ bacon fat)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (very dark, "b" grade)
  • tablespoon distilled white vinegar (apple cider vinegar will also work)
  • teaspoon diamond crystal kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Candied Pecans

  • ½ cup pecans or walnuts (roughly chopped)
  • 150 grams sugar (¾ cup)
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • pinch salt

Salad

  • 4 pieces bacon (chopped)
  • 4 cups thinly sliced brussels sprouts
  • ½ cup red onion (thinly sliced in crescent moon shapes)
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup candied pecans
  • parmesan cheese (shaved)

Instructions
 

Candied Nuts

  • Prepare a silicone mat or parchment paper lined sheet pan and have it nearby and easy to reach.
  • In a small heavy-bottomed sauce pot melt 2 tablespoon butter over medium heat.
  • As soon as the butter melts, add the sugar and stir to combine. The sugar and butter will initially form a crumbly mixture with the texture of wet sand, but as you keep stirring it will become smoother and turn into a thick paste.
  • Keep stirring as the paste begins to turn golden brown in color. Every now and then pause your stirring for about 15-20 seconds to give the sugar on the bottom time to melt (you'll notice an amber liquid on the bottom of the pan), but then resume stirring immediately to prevent the sugar from burning.
  • When the butter and sugar have completely melted, add the nuts and stir until they are fully coated.
  • Pour the nuts onto the prepared sheet pan. Use a spatula (or two spatulas) to push and prod the nuts away from each other so they don't harden in large clumps. It's okay if some of them are touching or have long bits of sugar between them.
    Work quickly because the sugar will harden quickly as it cools.
  • Let the candied nuts cool completely, then break them up into bite sized pieces with your hands (or use a knife). Transfer to an airtight container until ready to use.

Salad Dressing

  • Fry bacon in a large skillet over medium to medium high heat until quite crispy. Remove to a paper towel to cool. Pour bacon fat into a liquid measuring cup.
  • Add olive oil to the bacon fat, enough so that you end up with ¼ cup oil total. Depending on how fatty your bacon was you may need to add anywhere from 2 teaspoon to ⅛ of a cup.
  • Whisk in the remaining dressing ingredients and set aside.

Salad assembly

  • Use a very sharp knife to thinly slice Brussels sprouts into ribbons and slice half a red onion into very thin crescents. Combine in a bowl with most of the cranberries and candied nuts.
  • Warm the salad dressing in the microwave and give it a good whisk or shake. Divide the salad mixture into bowls, top with remaining cranberries and candied nuts. Drizzle with warm vinaigrette and use a vegetable peeler to finely shave parmesan cheese over the top.

RECIPE NOTES

  • You need ¼ cup oil total for the dressing. You should get about ⅛ cup from frying the bacon, but depending on the cut of bacon you may end up with more or less than that. The recipe says to use ⅛ cup olive oil, but just add however much you need to have ¼ cup oil total. If you fry the bacon and end up with ¼ cup bacon fat, there's no need to add extra olive oil to the dressing. 
  • Unlike olive oil, bacon fat will start to solidify if left at room temperature. That's why this is a warm salad dressing. If you make the dressing in advance, pop it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds and give it a good whisk or shake before pouring it onto the salad. 

YOUR NOTES

Tried this recipe?Leave a comment and let me how it was!