Pan roasting Brussels sprouts brings out their sweetness and adds so much flavor to them! You can stop right there and eat them right out of the pan and be happy. But toss them with blue cheese and cranberries and pecans in a sweet and tangy vinaigrette? And you’ll be even happier.
I’ll admit it right now. I love Brussels sprouts. I love them blanched. I love them roasted. I love them shredded. So you are going to be seeing more Brussels sprouts recipes here in the future! And I can’t wait to make them all for you, but I thought I would start with a simple, flavorful salad that I think is a nice introduction to how good Brussels sprouts can be when you cook them lightly and pair them with flavors that balance their sometimes bitter flavor.
I know you are looking up at that picture and saying ‘Lightly? They’re blackened!’ but cooking them in a very hot pan for just a few minutes allows us to have the best of both worlds. It took me just a few minutes in my cast iron pan to caramelize the outsides of the sprouts which was also just enough time to allow them to cook through. They were actually a bit firm when I took them off the heat, but I knew that the residual heat would finish them off without allowing them to become mushy or overdone. (Not what you are looking for. With sprouts less is more and a little underdone is much better than a little overdone.)
I finally got a Lodge cast iron skillet just a few years ago. It’s heavy as anything but I really love for doing things like caramelizing these sprouts and making croutons and searing steaks.
Anyway, once I had the perfect, blackened sprouts, it was time to put them together with some of my favorite salad accompaniments. As far as I’m concerned, blue cheese goes with just about anything and makes it better. Well, maybe not dessert – though I’m sure I could find one that would work, but I do love it with anything savory and this salad is no exception. And, since dried cranberries and pecans are always in my pantry, I used them to provide the crunch and the sweetness I needed.
The only thing left is the dressing, and since mustard and Brussels sprouts are one of my favorite combinations, mustard provides the spice in the dish while maple syrup gives it a hint of smoky sweetness. Yum!
- 1 lb Brussels sprouts
- 1 tbsp olive oi
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ c dried cranberries
- ½ c chopped pecans, toasted
- 1 oz blue cheese
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- kosher salt
- Trim the ends off of the Brussels sprouts, peel away the outer leaves, and cut larger sprouts in half.
- Heat a heavy skillet, cast iron if you have it, over medium high heat. Once its hot, add the olive oil, the Brussels sprouts, and the salt to the skillet. Saute the sprouts for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until they are blackened in spots and have turned bright green. Immediately scoop them out into a serving bowl and spread them out so they cool a bit.
- Add cranberries, pecans, and blue cheese to the bowl. Mix together the salad dressing; pour it over the salad. Toss to mix everything together.
I used a Lodge cast iron skillet for blackening the sprouts.