You can cook everything in this salad in the oven – brussels sprouts, shallots, bacon and croutons – and just toss it all together in the end. Inspired by the salad of sauteed brussels sprouts leaves at Pizza Antica, simplified for those of us who don’t have kitchen staff to pull off each leaf of each sprout.
- 2 pounds brussels sprouts
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (plus additional for croutons, if making)
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (2/3 teaspoon Mortons kosher salt, or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 shallot, minced (plus 1 tablespoon olive oil)
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (or 2 teaspoons fresh)
- 1/2 pound bacon
- Cubed bread for croutons (optional)
- 2 tablespoons red wine or balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Trim the cut ends off the brussels sprouts. Stand each brussels sprout on its trimmed end and cut in half (if small) or quarters (if large). Add cut sprouts to a large bowl with any loose leaves that fall off during trimming.
- Mix brussels sprouts with olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper and spread into single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast in oven for 40-50 minutes, depending on size, until brussels sprouts are browned and outer layers crisp.
- While brussels sprouts roast, cook bacon and shallots. Oven method: In a small ovenproof bowl, mix minced shallot, 1 tablespoon olive oil, thyme and a sprinkling of salt and pepper; cover with foil and place in oven. Lay bacon slices in another rimmed baking sheet and put on a separate tray in the oven for 15-20 minutes (watch carefully as time gets close, and also take shallots out of oven when bacon is done); remove bacon slices to a paper towel and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Stovetop method: In a skillet on low heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and minced shallots; heat gently until translucent then remove shallots to a bowl and set aside. Cut bacon into 1/2-inch pieces and cook in skillet on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Transfer bacon pieces to a paper towel to drain.
- To make croutons, drizzle cubed bread with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss well to coat, and bake in a single layer on a baking sheet, or in skillet on medium heat, until golden (about 10 minutes in oven). Stovetop croutons will require turning to brown evenly.
- Scrape warm brussels sprouts into a large bowl. Mix vinegar with shallots and pour over brussels sprouts. Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste. Add bacon and croutons and mix gently. Serve warm.
- Options: add hard-boiled eggs, toasted pecans and/or shaved Parmesan in addition to or instead of bacon.
- For a stronger shallot flavor, don’t cook the shallots. Instead add vinegar to minced shallots, with a good pinch of salt and pepper, and let the shallots soak while you cook the brussels sprouts. When ready to finish the salad, add one tablespoon of olive oil to the shallots. Pour the shallot mixture over the brussels sprouts and mix well before adding bacon and croutons to finish.
- If you don’t have shallots: use onion, or a clove of garlic, or skip both and add more bacon.
- Make ahead: you can cook the brussels sprouts, shallots, bacon and croutons a few hours ahead of time and then toss them together with the vinegar just before serving. The brussels sprouts will lose their crispness but still taste great.
Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.