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On Tuesday, Bi-Rite Market's Sam Mogannam and Dabney Gough are releasing their first cookbook Eat Good Food (Ten Speed Press). In it, they talk about how Brussels sprouts (roasted, sauteed, or raw and thinly sliced) are one of the most popular veggies in the deli case. Their Brussels Sprout Salad with Pistachios and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette gently wilts the leaves and is great solo or accompanied by pork chops, roast chicken, or game meat. When you're at the store or farmers market, avoid the big sprouts, and remember, write Mogannam and Gough, that "the smaller the sprout, the sweeter and more tender it will be."
1 1/4 pound Brussels sprouts
6 thick slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled, fat drained and reserved
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup lightly chopped toasted pistachios
1-inch knob fresh horseradish, peeled (optional)
1. Peel off and discard the darker outer leaves of the sprouts, and trim any discolored areas from the stem ends. Cut the sprouts in half lengthwise, and then slice them crosswise very thinly about 1/16 inch. (Alternatively, you can use a food processor fitted with the slicer attachment, but the cuts will not be as clean.) Transfer to a large heatproof bowl, add the bacon, and set aside.
2. Measure 1/4 cup of the reserved bacon fat into a small pan, and warm over low heat until liquified (if you don't have enough bacon fat, make up the difference with olive oil). Remove from the heat, and whisk in the lemon juice, vinegar, shallot, garlic, honey, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Drizzle the dressing over the Brussels sprouts, and toss well. Taste and season with more salt as necessary.
3. If you have time, let the salad sit out for 30 minutes or so before proceeding. In this time, the dressing helps the sprouts soften a bit.
4. Just before serving, top with the toasted pistachios. If using the horseradish, use a microplane grater to shave a little over the top as well.