Do you need a nifty slow carbohydrate side dish for pulled pork, sticky grilled chicken or slow braised beef? Rephrase; do you need a side in your repertoire which is not sweet potato wedges, hasselback potatoes (as fun as they are to make- and say), or a well intentioned tumble of roast root vegetables, quinoa and pomegranate arils whose juice will promptly stain your palms and favourite block printed tea towel? If so, skip straight to the recipe at the bottom. This brussels sprout and mustard cream slaw is what you’re looking for.
But first, some context. Poor brussels sprouts. In the last five years they’ve become blowsily over exposed. They’ve been vaulted from the curious kid in the corner to the most celebrated hipster in town. That is, so long as they’re roasted, deep fried, blistered or crisped. Nine times out of ten when you’re ordering brussels sprouts from a restaurant that serves you $16 glasses of GSM out of an old jam jar with your white hot accompaniment of choice (kimchee, sriracha, white miso, black tahini, fish sauce caramel, pickled rhubarb, unicorn tears)’ the reason they’re so gosh darn delicious is because they’ve been deep fried.
But that’s not real life. For one, boiling oil and family life are not often great friends (so says the lady with the toddler who likes to get involved in cooking). For two, it’s just not that terrific for us. So how best to celebrate these little cabbages? Well my friends, one easy way is to return them to their original state. And that state, is as a cabbage. A wee, sweet cabbage. And what do cabbages pair best with? (Chang’s noodle salad not being a valid answer). The answer, is coleslaw.
This slaw is everything you want in a side. It’s surprisingly hearty and stands up to slow cooked meats and sticky pork, yet sprightly enough to stand alone, perhaps with a soft centred egg or two spooling its yolk over the crest. It’s a snap to make- especially if you have a food processor with a shredding insert. And it’s got a surprising twang. The twang comes from four noble assistants; Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, parmesan cheese and a touch of honey. If you’re after something with more grunt then feel free to insert some hot english mustard, or wasabi even into the dressing. But the linking thread is a gilding of thickened cream. It adds roundness and a sultriness. It stops it resembling a fluffy pile of horse chaff and transforms these wafty ribbons of green into a forkable salad. And it’s rich, without being gluttonous. I like to add almonds for some textural crunch, though pecans, walnuts, or pistachios would all be lovely. Similarly if you needed it to be nut free then pumpkin seeds, or some dried cranberries would make a sound inclusion.
This is a salad best consumed within a couple of hours of dressing it (though I’m told the leftovers work very well on a bacon and egg roll the next morning).
Brussels Sprout and Mustard Cream Slaw
30 g parmesan cheese, grated
50 g almonds, roughly chopped
16 brussels sprouts, cored and any outer brown leaves removed
1/3 cup/ 80 ml thickened cream (35% fat content)
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp Apple Cider vinegar
1 tsp runny honey/ rice malt syrup
Here’s how we roll
1) Shred the sprouts, either using a food processor with a shredding blade, a mandolin or a sharp knife.