brussels1Whenever I go to my brother John’s restaurant in Chicago I know I am going to have an amazing meal.  I crave one of the fabulous cocktails (a pueblo magico, please), the empanadas, the seafood moqueca… and of course, the alfajores… but I have to admit that the thing I look most forward to eating is the shaved brussels sprouts salad.  Really, you ask? Brussels sprouts?  Weren’t those the things we pushed to the side of our plate as kids and hoped our parents would not notice that we didn’t eat?

Well, words really cannot describe the magic Tio (as John is known is House Morell) has worked with the once-lowly brussels sprout.  Just a few simple ingredients: the sprouts, the light springy dill, the earthy manchego cheese and the salty spanish-style almonds combined with the lemon and olive oil dressing creates a thing of wonder.

Tio came to town recently for an event, and I was tasked to do some of the prep work for this salad.  I discovered the truth of it’s simplicity.  I usually don’t dare try to duplicate what he creates in his kitchen… but this did seem like something I could handle… and I believe actually anyone could handle it.

The thing is about John and I – we work on completely opposite schedules.  When I’m having a leisurely Saturday afternoon puttering around my kitchen, he’s in full swing at the restaurant, getting ready to feed a hundred or so people.  I called to clarify a few specifics, but he didn’t have a lot of time for a long chat – and his mind works in feeding sprouts to dozens – not a party of four. The guidance was helpful, but a bit vague.

So, let me be very clear – this is my version (the girl with no culinary training whatsoever), not John’s take.  I went for straight-up brussels sprouts – John adds grilled radicchio.  But the recipe I put together for the home cook is fantastic.  Really.  You will never look at a brussels sprout again without craving this salad.  Trust me… every ounce that was made for the photo-shoot was inhaled by M.  Actually, he took one of the plates in the middle of the photo shoot…

(A warning – you really must have a mandolin on hand to make this salad… it’s near-impossible to slice the sprouts as thin as you’d like them with a knife.)

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Manchego and Marcona Almonds

  • 4 cups shaved brussels sprouts (using a mandolin)
  • 1/4 cup (packed) fresh dill… picked from the stems – not chopped
  • 1/2 cup manchego cheese, sliced with that mandolin again, then chopped into smaller pieces
  • 1/2 cup marcona almonds (salted, with rosemary), chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup excellent quality olive oil

Whisk the lemon juice and olive oil together to make a dressing.

Combine the sprouts, dill, manchego and almonds in a large salad bowl.  Coat with the dressing, and toss together until all the elements are lightly dressed.

Place the salad on plates, and sprinkle with a bit of extra manchego and almonds.

Serves 4.

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8 Responses to "Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Manchego and Marcona Almonds"
  1. Shannon Hynds says:

    Never mind that they almost killed me. But they were delicious:)

    Sent from my iPhone. Shannon Hynds shynds@mindspring.com 703-568-6910

  2. thebrookcook says:

    I love anything with Marcona Almonds… they are so special and fabulous!

  3. Ellie says:

    Thank you for this easy and delicious recipe, and the interesting story around it! For those who want to try it, I would encourage not being daunted by the instruction “you really must have a mandolin”. I do not have one, so I used my food processor for the Brussels sprouts. Everyone thought it turned out great. You could also slice thinly with a knife, or remove the leaves individually, but both these approaches are a lot more work.

    I would love more information about adding grilled radicchio to the salad.

    • mb says:

      Ellie – yes, you are correct – I have learned the hard way… the food processor also works very well to shave brussels sprouts. As to adding the grilled radicchio… I believe John grills it for a few minutes on each side, then slices it into bite size strips and adds it in. (Sorry, he has a grill in his restaurant, and I don’t have one in my home kitchen… so I just skipped this bit. Though it IS delicious!)

  4. Dila says:

    La sirena clandestina has absolutely been my favorite restaurant for years now. And this salad and the kale salad many a time İlI tried to recreate at home:) thank you for sharing. And Tio is the best chef ever!!

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