This wonderful and unique brussels sprouts salad has fingerling potatoes and is seasoned with the unusual combination of caraway seeds and juniper berry!
My partner AJ has repeatedly told me how our refrigerator scares him. He goes into there to get his milk and cheese, but otherwise he steers clear of it. No, it’s not because I have old expired food that I refuse to throw out (though certainly I’ve been known to discover a few forgotten wrinkled apples buried in the back what need to be composted now and then), but rather, it’s because I’ve packed it full various produce, not to mention the huge amount of eggs and butter I have stocked there for my recipe development. So packed in fact, that when he wants something other than his aforementioned dairy products, he just asks me to get it for him. So it did not surprise him when I decided to clean out the fridge and came up with the ingredients for this brussels sprouts salad with fingerling potatoes seasoned with caraway seeds and juniper berries. (Jump directly to the recipe.)
Honestly, I think a lot of my recipes that I make come about from me trying to frantically use up ingredients that I have in my fridge, before they go bad. I had found brussels sprouts languishing in the bottom shelf of our packed fridge from I don’t know when (thankfully they still looked good) and those potatoes were hanging around from a side dish for a steak I had made a few past as well. AJ and I were heading up to Napa for a picnic and as I brainstormed for the sort of dishes that I could bring up for a picnic, this one just sort of came together.
The hardest part was NOT to reach for the bacon as an addition. It’s not that I don’t love the combination of bacon and brussels sprouts, it’s just that I tend to ALWAYS put bacon in with brussels sprouts and I really wanted to do something different. Plus a friend of mine joining us was vegetarian so I wanted something friendly to everyone (someone else at the picnic was gluten free but this is naturally gluten free so no big deal). Then I remember reading about a recipe by April Bloomfield that combines Brussels sprouts with juniper berry, the herb that gives gin it’s signature flavor. I was sold on the idea. And once you taste this dish, you will be too.
Brussels Sprouts Salad with Fingerling Potato, seasoned with Caraway Seeds and Juniper Berries
By Irvin Lin
This simple, fast, gluten free salad uses a few less common herbs and spices including caraway seeds and juniper berries. Caraway seeds, the spice that is probably known most for being sprinkled on top of rye bread, can be found in most grocery stores but juniper berries might be harder to find. If your local grocery store doesn’t carry it, try an upscale grocery store like Whole Foods or a natural food store or specialty spice shop. Otherwise you can buy juniper berries online. Juniper berries are worth tracking down as they add a great earthy and sharp herbaceous woodsy scent and flavor to this salad. Juniper berry is also great with wild game dishes and I use it when I cure bacon. The salad itself can be made ahead of time and served warm or cold. I prefer it warm but obviously for a picnic it’s perfect at room temperature or cool. Just be sure to taste the salad before you serve it, as the cold tends to dull flavors. You may need to adjust salt and pepper to the salad if it’s served cold.
If gluten is a concern, be sure to source gluten free ingredients, specifically mustard, as some mustard use vinegar derived from wheat.
1/2 lb (8 oz) fingerling potatoes
3/4 lb (12 oz) Brussels sprouts
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium shallot
5 juniper berries
2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon mustard
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
zest of 1/2 lemon
plus more salt and pepper to taste
1. Fill a medium pot with water and heavily salt the water (it should taste like the sea). Cover and turn the heat to high. While the water is coming to a boil, wash and scrub the potatoes and cut them into bite size pieces. Rinse the Brussels sprouts and cut off the tough bottom ends and slice in half (or quarters if the sprouts are large).
2. Once the water is boiling, add the peeled garlic and the potatoes and bring the water back to boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 7-10 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender but not falling apart. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the potatoes and place them in a colander over a bowl to catch any residual water. Remove the garlic cloves and set aside. Bring the water back to a boil, then place the brussels sprouts in boiling water. While they are cooking, fill a large bowl with water and a tray of ice cubes. Cook the brussels sprouts for 5 minutes or until they are tender crisp then scoop out and dunk them into the ice water to shock them.
3. While the potatoes and brussels sprouts are cooking, finely mince the shallot. Using the side of a chef knife, smash the juniper berries flat then finely mince them. Mash the reserve garlic cloves with the side of the chef knife.
4. Once the potatoes and sprouts are finished, place the butter in a medium to large pan and turn the heat to medium. Once the butter has melted, add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes or until they have softened. Stir in the chopped juniper berries and the mashed garlic cloves and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in the mustard, lemon juice, caraway seeds, salt and pepper. Add the potatoes and brussels sprouts to the pan and toss gently to coat. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately warm or let cool and store in the fridge, to serve the next day (see note above if serving cold).
Serves 4 as a side dish.
If you like this brussels sprouts salad recipe, check out some of these other brussels sprout dishes from around the web.
Orangette’s Cream-Braised Brussels Sprouts
Simple Bites’ Brussels Sprouts Nachos
Gimme Some Oven’s Pesto Pasta with Chicken Sausage & Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Completely Delicious’ Brussels Sprouts and Farro Salad with Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese
Sprouted Kitchen’s Kale & Slivered Brussels Sprout Soba Noodles