SHAVED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH ZA’ATAR, LEMON, AND PINE NUTS

Excerpted from Crossroads by Tal Ronnen with Scot Jones. (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015. Photographs by Lisa Romerein.

With only a handful of ingredients, this unusual salad couldn’t be easier. People often cook Brussels sprouts until they are a mushy, bitter mess. When shaved raw, these badass cabbage buds are an entirely different beast. Delicate and hearty at the same time, this is one of those make-ahead salads where the flavors get even better if it is allowed to stand.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts (about 30), tough outer leaves discarded and stem ends trimmed
  • 4 baby rainbow carrots
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon za’atar (see Note)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

SERVES: 4

METHOD:

1. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl halfway with water and adding a tray of ice cubes.

2. Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, slice the Brussels sprouts and carrots as thin as possible. Put them in the ice bath for 5 minutes to crisp them up.

3. Drain the sprouts and carrots and dry well in a salad spinner, or drain in a colander and pat dry. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the lemon zest and juice, za’atar, and oil; season with salt and pepper, and toss with your hands to coat. Sprinkle in the pine nuts and toss again to combine.

4. If you have time, allow the salad to stand for 15 minutes. Serve the salad on a platter or divide among four individual plates.

NOTE: ZA’ATAR

Za’atar is a wonderfully tangy Middle Eastern spice blend. Made primarily from a combination of sesame seeds, thyme, and sumac, it has deep nutty, woodsy accents. In the Old City of Jerusalem, merchants sell za’atar by the kilo and wrap it up in newspaper, ready for customers to dip hunks of fresh bread into. Za’atar can add a pop of flavor to almost anything, especially vegetables grains, and beans. You can find it in the spice aisle of good grocery stores.