CONJURING SPRING -
SHREDDED BRUSSELS SPROUTS with CELERY and MEYER LEMON
No, I don't have access to some magical calendar that has moved the Vernal Equinox to March 1st. But I would love to have the customer service number for whomever is responsible for setting March 20 as the beginning of Spring.
Sorry... I know it's all about planets and the sun and history and druids and perhaps even the Mayans as well, but there's just no way I can respond to any day in March as winter. I am fully aware that by putting this on paper (or cyber, or whatever...) I am sending up fireworks of red flares to all the gods daring them to smack down my audaciousness with 8 inches of snow or so. If it happens, I'll cope... but with a SPRING blizzard, and no other term will apply.
So this may clue you in as to why I was prowling the kitchen today in search of something deliciously green and bright to bring some sunshine into the grey day I was seeing outside my window. Yet, I am fully on board with seasonal eating, at least when it comes to my home. Witness the bounty of kale, winter squash, cauliflower, parsnips and carrots my patchwork family has smiled through since October. And so I honorably approached the refrigerator in search of a new perspective with some all too familiar inspiration.
O happy morning.... there in all their verdant glory were some brussels sprouts. Don't let me see that look! It's not Big Mary's fault if your Mama always cooked them to the consistency of grey green pudding. Stay strong and hang with me here reader... And some celery I spy, certainly green and bright, a bit of a dowdy step sister, but always under appreciated... and oh YES, that Meyer Lemon I couldn't resist buying.
If you are not familiar with Meyer Lemons, they are the dazzling citrus debutante that every chef wants to dance with. A cross between a mandarine orange and a lemon, it is infinitely more interesting than either of it's parents. Don't we all secretly aspire to the same claim? With a maternal sweetness overlaying the tartness from papa lemon it also has a floral perfume uniquely it's own. Happily they are becoming more and more available in regular markets.
And so I offer a recipe to tide you over until Spring closes the gap between nature and instinct. Something to relish until Mama Earth send us ramps and asparagus, morels and rhubarb, and assures us of the bounty that will return to us again. In the words of Thorton Wilder.... "Oh Earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you!"
Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Celery and Meyer Lemon
2 Tablespoons Herbed Olive Oil (or Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
3 large Shallots, peeled and sliced thinly
1 large Celery Rib, peeled
12 ounces Fresh Brussels Sprouts
1 Meyer Lemon ( or regular Lemon)
Salt & Pepper
2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley Leaves, finely chopped
Holding the stem end of the brussels sprouts, slice thinly on a kitchen mandoline, V-Slicer or Benriner slicer. (Alternately you could thinly shave them with a sharp knife). Cut the celery into thin julienne strips about 2 inches long. Zest the Meyer Lemon and reserve. Juice the lemon and reserve. (If using regular lemon, use only juice from half a lemon.)
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the sliced shallots and saute over high heat for 1 minute. Add the Celery and cook an additional minute. Add the shredded Brussels Sprouts, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Saute until sprout leaves are beginning to wilt and slightly brown. Add lemon juice, stir well and serve.
Copyright Big Mary's Kitchen 2013