My friends are growing up. We all get older, but I reserve the term “growing up” for those life events that are life-changing. Graduations. marriages. births. promotions. heartbreak. even travel can be life-changing.
In my experience, life-changing moments = abundance of food. And this weekend I was hit with two of those life-changing-decadent-table-spread-open-bar events – a baby shower and a wedding. Even my best intentions and pre-party pep talks of “You don’t have to eat cake just because there is cake” were not enough to actually keep me away from the cake. Or from the vino.
So yesterday called for a big bowl of something green. Usually I’m in the habit of microwaving some frozen broccoli on my “day after” days. But, in honor of growing up, I made something slighty more sophisticated.
And suddenly, the house was full of fall. The smell of cooking rosemary. With anything. The smell of caramelizing sugar. Of baking apples. Of sautéed brussels sprouts — which I never really noticed is a warm, earthy, very fall smell.
The finished dish was exactly what I wanted it to be. Healthy with simple, whole ingredients, but complex and sophisticated at the same time. Some bites are tart, some charred, and some sugary, but all bites are tummy- and heart- and soul-warming and feel-good worthy.
Warm Apple & Brussels Sprouts Salad with Candied Walnuts
- 3 tablespoons butter divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound brussels sprouts quartered
- 1 big tart apple sliced
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Heat 2 tablespoons butter and the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
Add brussels sprouts and apples; season with salt and pepper.
Add rosemary and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until tender.
Prepare walnuts by melting 1 tablespoon butter in saucepan.
Add sugars and stir until incorporated; add walnuts and continue to stir around for about 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Remove brussels sprouts and apples from heat and let cool for 2 minutes.
Spoon salad onto plate and garnish with candied walnuts. Enjoy!
Note: If you plan to pack up and save leftovers, pack the extra walnuts separately (or eat them with a spoon and make fresh nuts later). If packed together, the nuts won’t keep their sweet sugary cinnamony coating.
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars immediately. 4.5 out of 5 stars as leftovers. See above note.
The BBF’s rating: I can’t remember the number of stars, but I’m pretty sure he told me this could be on a Thanksgiving table. So that’s a pretty high rating!