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Brussels Sprout Caesar with Croutons, Borlotti Beans and Sunflower Seeds

Food

Hetty McKinnon of Arthur Street Kitchen is back with us today, sharing another fab salad from her new book, ‘Neighbourhood‘.

Today, Hetty shares with us her version of the all-American Caesar salad. As with all the recipes in her book, this salad is loaded with robust, unexpected ingredients including shaved brussel sprouts (!), roast garlic, parmesan, lemon and crunchy croutons. And as with any good Caresar, it all comes down to the dressing – Hetty’s creamy, garlicky dressing is a winner!

Neighbourhood by Hetty McKinnon is now available from all good bookstores, and online here!

18th October, 2016
Hetty McKinnon
Tuesday 18th October 2016

If there was ever an all-American salad, it would surely be the caesar. Here, the caesar is still very much the king of all salads, a menu staple. But to be honest, in a country where food fads are born and where bigger is better but bolder is best, it always surprises me that the humble caesar still remains the most common salad option at dining establishments.

While a classic Caesar is not the most inventive of salads, I actually love the concept. It’s loaded with such delicious things – garlic, parmesan, lemon and my beloved salad accessory, croutons. With today’s caesar recipe, I have lovingly taken the bones of this famous Italo-American creation and injected it with a bit of vegetable magic. Gone is the lettuce, and in sashays Brussels sprouts, grated thinly and teamed with creamy borlotti beans and topped off with Vitamin E-packed sunflower seeds.

As with most salads, the secret in turning an everyday caesar into one with serious swagger is the dressing. There are no raw egg or anchovies in this dressing. Rather, my mellow, pleasantly umami sauce is created using the best, creamiest store-bought whole egg mayonnaise you can find (I’m partial to S&W or British favourite Hellman’s), teamed with a heap of sweet roasted garlic, a spot of sour cream for balance, capers for a briny blast and a good squeeze of lemon for zest. For me, this dressing is so simple and good, I wouldn’t go back to whisking egg yolks!

This recipe is from Hetty’s new book ‘Neighbourhood’ (RRP $39.99) published by Plum and available now from good bookstores and online here.

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

For the salad

  • 250 g stale bread, torn into 2 cm chunks
  • 1–2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 500 g brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 500 g cooked borlotti beans (about 2 cans), drained
  • 1⁄2 small red onion, very finely sliced
  • 1⁄2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup basil leaves, roughly torn
  • 1⁄2 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 60 g parmesan, shaved
  • sea salt and black pepper

For the Caesar dressing

  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled, plus 1⁄2 garlic clove, very finely chopped (optional)
  • 250 g (1 cup) whole egg mayonnaise
  • 80 g (1⁄3 cup) sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon salted capers, rinsed and chopped
  • juice of 1⁄2 lemon
  • sea salt and black pepper

Substitutes

  • brussels sprouts: kale
  • borlotti beans: chickpeas, cannellini beans or any other canned legume

Method

Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

Coat the bread in the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Spread over a large baking tray in a single layer and bake in the oven until golden, about 15–20 minutes, turning every now and then to make sure the croutons are evenly browned and crisp on all sides. Cool.

While the croutons are baking, make the caesar dressing. Place the unpeeled garlic cloves in the oven and cook for 20–25 minutes until they are very soft. Remove from the oven and peel off the skins, then mash the soft garlic flesh with the back of a fork and mix it together with the mayonnaise, sour cream, capers, lemon juice and 3–4 teaspoons of water. Season to taste with salt and pepper and – if you like it more garlicky – add half a very finely chopped raw garlic clove.

Using a mandoline or the grater attachment on the food processor, very finely slice the brussels sprouts.

Combine the brussels sprouts with the borlotti beans, red onion, herbs and half the sunflower seeds. Add the caesar dressing, season with salt and pepper and mix everything well to make sure the ingredients are well coated. Leave the salad to sit for 15–20 minutes to allow the brussels sprouts to soften and the flavours to meld together.

To serve, fold through the croutons and sprinkle over the parmesan shavings and remaining sunflower seeds.

This recipe is from Hetty’s new book ‘Neighbourhood’ (RRP $39.99) published by Plum and available now from good bookstores and online here.  

Hetty on the streets of Brooklyn! Photo – Luisa Brimble.

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