Brussels Sprouts, Bacon, and Sherry Salad
Kelly English, Chef-Owner
Restaurant Iris, Memphis, Tennessee
“There is no better dish than this one to show you the importance of cookware,”declares Kelly English, chef-owner of Restaurant Iris in Memphis. “Go ahead...I dare you to try to cook this on anything but Lodge cast iron. This is the salad that my entire menu was built around.”
2 pounds Brussels sprouts (Kelly gets his from
Woodson Ridge Farms in Oxford, Mississippi)
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
¼ pound sliced bacon (Kelly likes to use Benton’s
hickory-smoked country bacon from Madisonville, Tennessee), cut across into strips
2 shallots, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of very salty (salty like the ocean) water to a boil.
Trim the stems of the Brussels sprouts; then cut them in half through the stem. Blanch the sprouts in the boiling water until tender but not mushy, about 2 minutes. Drain, then shock the sprouts in ice water to stop the cooking and drain again.
In a small bowl, make a vinaigrette by whisking the oil and vinegar together until it thickens (emulsifies).
In a Lodge 15-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon; when it begins to crisp and the fat is released, add the sprouts. Cook, stirring a few times, until the sprouts start to take on good color, about 1 minute.
Add the shallots, garlic, and thyme; toss to combine. Cook, stirring, until the shallots become translucent.
Pour the vinaigrette to coat the salad (still in the skillet) and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4
Used with permission from Lodge Cast Iron Nation: Great American Cooking from Coast to Coast, (Oxmoor House, 2014)