Dear SOS: My wife and I had occasion to eat at Palazzo Giuseppe in downtown San Luis Obispo in mid-March. We had a Brussels sprout salad with goat cheese and pecans that was outstanding. The salad was a daily special, not on the regular menu. Any chance you could procure the recipe?
Dear Marc: This is one salad that just might turn anyone into a fan of Brussels sprouts. Roasting does a lot to tame this assertive vegetable, softening the Brussels sprouts and giving it nice nutty notes. Tossed with sweet candied pecans, lightly tangy Dijon dressing and fresh goat cheese, you have a tempting dish that works well for both weeknight dinners and holiday entertaining. Best of all, you can make all the components ahead of time, and warm the sprouts just before serving. Just be sure you make extra, in case any new fans want seconds.
Palazzo Giuseppe's Brussels sprout salad
50 minutes, plus roasting and toasting times. Serves 4
1 heaping cup (4 ounces) pecan halves
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, and add the pecans. Boil until the nuts are softened, about 5 minutes. Strain the nuts, discarding the water.
2. In a medium bowl, toss the nuts with the sugar, honey and a pinch of salt. Place on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and cook until the nuts are dried and toasted, 45 minutes to an hour. Toss the nuts after 25 minutes, and then check every 5 to 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. This makes more candied pecans than are needed for the remainder of the recipe; the nuts will keep for weeks, sealed in a container in a cool, dry place.
1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Adjust the oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, toss the sprouts with the olive oil, salt and pepper, then spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast the sprouts until the edges start to crisp, 25 to 30 minutes, tossing halfway. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. The Brussels sprouts can be made up to 3 days in advance; cover and refrigerate until needed.