If you are looking for a satisfying winter vegetable side dish, this may become your new favorite. Brussels sprouts might actually be my favorite vegetable, so I am always trying to find new ways to incorporate them into my meals. Not only do they taste great, but they are also rich in sulfur, which supports the body's detoxification process. On their own, they are strongly-flavored enough to stand up to strong flavors like bacon and lemon. But I add another element in this recipe with the starchy salsify root, for another layer of texture and flavor.
If you are unfamiliar with salsify, it may be time to try it out. Salsify is also known as "oyster root," as it has a slightly mineral-y, oyster-like flavor to it. It is a hearty root, and it's high in minerals like manganese, as well as B vitamins. You will be hard-pressed to find it at a conventional grocery store, but try looking at a health food store or winter farmer's market. Salsify also grows wild here in our area of Wisconsin, so you can wild harvest it as well! Find a good foraging book to accurately identify it in the wild, and you can avoid the store altogether. I like Samuel Thayer's new book, Incredible Wild Edibles, which talks about salsify foraging.
Salsify is a root vegetable which, unpeeled, looks a lot like burdock root or even a thin, dark parsnip. It is actually a part of the sunflower family, though you may not know it by it's appearance. Once peeled, you can eat it raw or cooked, like in this recipe. This dish calls for thinly slicing on the bias, to create a nice oblong shape. You could also shred it and put it in slaws, latkes or stir fries.
If you are unable to find salsify, you can substitute parsnips in the same quantity, with no need to peel if they're organic and unwaxed. Either way, this is a great side dish for roast or other hearty main dish, and you could serve the leftovers for breakfast with over-easy eggs on top!
Brussels Sprouts and Salsify with Bacon and Lemon Cream
1 Tbs grass-fed butter
2 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
2 cups salsify root, peeled and thinly sliced on the bias--or substitute parsnip
1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 strips uncooked bacon, chopped
1/2 cup bone broth, or can substitute water
1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper
Big pinch of red pepper flakes
Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup organic sour cream or creme fraiche
In a large skillet, heat butter over medium flame until melted. Add sliced salsify to the pan and cook 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until becoming slightly browned.
Add bacon and shallots to the pan. Cook 5 more minutes until the bacon begins to get about halfway "done." Add the Brussels sprouts and garlic and saute 2-3 more minutes to brown edges.
Add broth, along with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Cover and turn to low; let simmer 5-10 more minutes until sprouts begin to soften and the liquid has reduced by at least half.
While the veggie mixture is cooking, whisk the lemon juice, sour cream and an extra pinch of salt together in a small bowl.
When the veggies are tender and the bacon is fully cooked, remove from the heat. Add the lemon cream to the pan and stir to coat the vegetables. Serve garnished with a pinch of red pepper flakes.
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Brine & Broth
I am a gut health-focused nutritionist and online health coach based in Southwest Wisconsin. My recipes and philosophies center around traditional, nutrient-dense foods that support robust gut health.