Last night I went to the Vendor Summit for Kitchen Kapers, so I’m in an especially good mood today. If you’ve ever seen “Oprah’s Favorite Things”, then imagine that, just with kitchenware. Instead of cars, it’s like “YOU GET A VEGETABLE PEELER, YOU GET A VEGETABLE PEELER, EVERYBODY GETS A VEGETABLE PEELER!”
It actually is really fun for everyone who comes, but I get overly excited. For example, CDN gave out thermometers and I think I freaked out the representative with how pumped I was about it. I was beaming from ear to ear and kept telling him, almost aggressively, about how happy it made me.
He was really nice, but the look on his face was like, I am slightly scared of you. Take the thermometer and leave, crazy lady. I’d back away slowly, but I’m stuck at this table.
I’m okay with admitting that I get all sorts of amped up for things that other people might find a little bit weird. Another prime example of that would be my reaction to brussels sprouts. Oh man, I love those things.
I know it sounds nuts, but you’ve gotta trust me here. Brussels sprouts are amazing when they’re done right.
Last year, I discovered my love for sprouts and made these Roasted Honey Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Pomegranate Seeds. YUM. Since then, I’ve been trying to think of a new way to scarf them down. With Thanksgiving around the corner, I thought maybe I could turn them into a salad to serve with dinner. A lot of people have been making salads lately with brussels sprouts served raw and shredded into a sort of slaw, so I considered doing that.
But then I came up with the idea of sauteing them in bacon drippings, and there were no second thoughts. I added some kale to get in some extra vitamins and nutrients (and I can now claim that this is a kind of healthy dish). Wouldn’t you know it, kale is also delicious with bacon.
This Warm Brussels Sprouts and Kale Bacon Caesar Salad is so fantastic, you won’t believe it. My friend Kait came over when I made it last week and she was disappointed when I told her what I’d be serving up. “I guess I’ll try it,” she said.
Well, she tried it, and then she had 2 bowl-fulls. I took a bit, and then my mom ate the rest of it. My mom, who usually claims that she doesn’t like kale or brussels sprouts.
I keep talking about the brussels, bacon, and kale, but the real MVP here might be the Caesar dressing. It is so good, you will never buy Caesar dressing from the store ever again. James has said that it’s the best he’s ever tried, and we’re self-proclaimed Caesar salad aficionados.
For this recipe, I used the PL8 Mandoline again that I wouldn’t stop talking about in Friday’s Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake post. I told you that I was wanted to use that mandoline for every recipe for the rest of my life, and I wasn’t kidding. However, you can still make this without a mandoline if you thinly cut the brussels sprouts with a knife, it’s just more time-consuming.
- 6 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
- 1 bunch kale, center stem discarded, sliced into thin ribbons
- 1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed, sliced thin using mandoline
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh Parmesan cheese, to taste
For the croutons:
- 1/2 loaf day-old crusty bread, cubed (I used roasted garlic ciabatta)
- Olive oil
- Red pepper flakes, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Caesar dressing:
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste, or to taste
- Fresh squeezed juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus more to taste
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ – 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ – 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- Start by making the Caesar dressing. In a large bowl, whisk together all of the Caesar dressing ingredients. Add additional olive oil until you reach your desired consistency. This is supposed to be a very thick dressing, so don’t thin it out too much! Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Toss the cubes of bread in a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of red pepper flakes (use a very light hand here, if using at all), and salt and pepper. Bake them on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet for about 15-18 minutes, or until lightly browned and crunchy, tossing occasionally. Set aside.
- In a large pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove to a plate and turn down the heat to medium-low, leaving the bacon drippings in the pan.
- Add the kale and brussels sprouts into the pan, tossing in the bacon drippings. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Saute, stirring occasionally, until bright green and wilted, about 4 minutes.
- Mix in the cooked bacon and croutons and transfer to a plate or bowl to serve. Drizzle with the Caesar dressing and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Serve warm.