Roasted Brussels sprouts were a thing of beauty in my book already, but in his book, Plenty More, Yotam Ottolenghi created a masterpiece with them, and they're unlike any roasted Brussels sprouts I've ever had. The sprouts and shallots are simply blanched and roasted with salt and pepper, and in the meantime, pomelo (or grapefruit, if pomelo is unavailable) segments marinate in simple syrup scented with cinnamon and star anise. When everything is cool, the sprouts, shallots, drained citrus, and cilantro leaves are dressed with lemon juice and a bit of the fruity syrup.
Ottlolenghi lures the sweetness out of each component, though each also brings an edge of something else to the party. The roasted sprouts' sweetness is matched by the sugared citrus, but a common note of bitterness echoes between them (although if you can find pomelo, it will be naturally sweeter than grapefruit). The shallots retain a ghost of their normal pungency, though their time in the oven nearly candies them. The softly pervasive waft of warm spices from the syrup feels exotic but somehow totally at home, while the lemon juice and cilantro (which I always love, but which does something particularly special in this mix) remind us that this isn't dessert. It's an odd jumble that totally works, as if Jackson Pollack used produce as his medium instead of paint.
Why I picked this recipe: I love all these ingredients, but would never have thought to combine them.
What worked: Marinating the citrus in spiced syrup is a wonderful technique that results in mellowed, perfumed bites—I want to try it with other fruits, as well. This is a thoughtful, sparkling salad that inspires me to think beyond my tried-and-true.
What didn't: It's best served right away, as directed; it gets soggy after a night in the fridge (though it's still delicious).
Suggested tweaks: Ottolenghi suggests saving the leftover citrusy, spiced marinade for use in fruit salad; I've charged my husband with crafting me a cocktail around it. Whatever floats your boat, but don't throw it out.
With a million thanks to our friends at Ten Speed Press, we have 5 copies of Plenty More to give away this week.
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