How I enjoy Mark and my Sunday morning ritual. We wake up around 10. Drive over to the farmer's market. We walk past the Diane Von Furstenberg and Marc Jacobs stores and comment on their ever changing windows. (DVF has pretty things right now inspired by La Dolce Vita, whereas Marc Jacobs has mannequins posed in front of chalk boards wearing a puzzling and unflatering combination of boring sweaters and cropped pants/shorts).
It was early enough that when we arrived none of the stands were picked over yet. The smoothie cart at the opposite end blasting motown battled for attention with a lone woman playing "Do You Know The Way To San Jose" on a flute. There were lots of brussels sprouts. After Mark finished his tamale we picked up a pound along with several baskets of the most beautiful, ripe strawberries fresh from Oxnard.
Brussels sprouts, like most vegetables it seems, I've only recently acquired a taste for. I always tell people that if there is a vegetable they think they don't like, either roast it or grill it and you will probably be converted. That's how I came to reconsider brussels sprouts. Since then, I've sauteed them and braised them. They're great with bacon, but then what isn't. I found this interesting recipe on the Williams Sonoma website.
1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 cups apple juice or cider
1 cup water
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons walnut oil
1 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1 cup young, tender arugula leaves
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the brussels sprouts, apple juice, water and 1 tsp. of the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook just until the sprouts are tender yet firm when pierced at the base, about 15 minutes. Drain well.
When the brussels sprouts are cool enough to handle, cut them lengthwise into thin slices. Put the slices in a bowl and add the walnut oil, vinegar, the remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and the pepper and stir gently to mix. Add the arugula and toss to combine. Serve warm.
This was a really nice, different way to do brussels sprouts. It's side dish, it's kind of a warm salad, it's whatever you want. There's a good combination of flavors and textures - the crunch of the toasted nuts, the fresh arugula, the simmered sprouts, the sweetness of the apple juice, the tang of the vinegar, the nutty oil. I served it with a roasted pork loin and some roasted spiced butternut squash.