Simple is best, don’t you think?
When it comes to food and using quality ingredients, I am definitely on team KISS.
Recently, friends had me over for dinner (word up Amy and Gord!) and as we chatted and sipped on wine, I watched Gord casually prepare a simple side salad with finely chopped brussels sprouts. It was perfectly elegant for a dinner party, yet simple enough for a week nighter.
I’ve made a few more involved versions of this salad in the weeks since, but I’m always drawn back to the most basic version, using high quality ingredients.
Yup, really good extra virgin olive oil (or canola!) costs a little more, as does parmesan reggiano. Pine nuts aren’t cheap either. But! These are what make a humble bowl of wee little heads of cabbage taste… *kissing the tip of my thumb and index finger*.
The brussels sprout chopping is the only real work here, which took about 5 minutes for the ½ pound.
Pine nuts are sweet and creamy and really delicious when toasted, and a couple of tablespoon won’t break the bank, either. I’ve used toasted sliced almonds and walnuts for this salad, too. Both really great alternatives.
As for a parmesan substitute, you could try pecorino romano or grana padano. Something hard, salty and sharp is the ticket.
You’ll also notice the recipe calls for cold pressed canola oil. While the canola oil you may know and love is very very mild in flavour, a cold pressed canola oil can have an incredible range of flavours (as can olive oil) depending on where the seed is grown. I’ve done a couple of canola oil tastings and I’ve tasted everything from butter to grass to sesame seed to asparagus in the oils grown across Manitoba alone!
You may be able to find cold pressed canola oil at a specialty food shop near you, but you can also use a good quality olive oil in its place.