For a time I swore off Thanksgiving first courses. They mostly get in the way of what people really want to do: chow down on all the good stuff! But for us this year, Thanksgiving is small and simple. We’re serving a few classics, done well, and I’m hoping for a good strong fire, and lively table conversation that lasts the afternoon.
To pull that off I need more than one big main course, so I’m starting off with this salad. Here I flash sauté shredded Brussels sprouts just long enough to take away the raw texture and flavor without removing the crunch. If you have reservations about serving Brussels sprouts salad, just know I served it recently to an avowed Brussels sprouts disdainer who ate every bite.
The salad additions–toasted walnuts and pan-roasted grapes–add a little fall crunch and sweetness. And of course anything you drizzle with Balsamic vinaigrette suddenly appeals.
You may want to serve a quick blow-out extravaganza and let everyone get back to the games, but if you’re interested in a long, leisurely repast, this fall salad is a lovely way to start.
Warm Brussels Sprout Salad with Roasted Grapes and Walnuts
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 medium garlic clove
Salt and ground black pepper
5 tablespoon oil, divided
2 cups red seedless grapes
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
Whisk vinegar, mustard, garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper in a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup of the oil (Can be refrigerated in an airtight container for several days; return to room temperature)
When ready to serve, heat a large skillet over strong medium-high heat. Toss grapes with 1 teaspoon of oil. Add to hot skillet and sauté, shaking the pan frequently, until grapes are spotty brown, about 2 minutes. Turn onto a plate and return skillet to burner. Toss Brussels sprouts with remaining 2 teaspoons of oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper; toss to coat and add to skillet; sauté until warmed through and slightly wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Return grapes to skillet and toss.
Transfer a portion of the Brussels sprouts mixture onto each plate. Sprinkle with walnuts, drizzle with vinaigrette, and serve.