This salad is based on one I had recently at one of my favorite restaurants, Blackbird Kitchen + Bar in Sacramento. I love brussels sprouts, and I'm always thrilled to find new ways to serve them, so when I tried Blackbird's salad, I started trying to figure out how to reverse engineer it. I don't know how close I got (I'm pretty sure they deep fry the whole leaves in their salad, for one thing), but I think what I came up with is a light, tasty salad that makes a great first course or side dish.
Using a mandoline, slicing disk on a food processor, or a sharp knife, shred the brussels sprouts crosswise as thinly as possible and place in a bowl. Reserve around ten whole leaves.
Coat a small pan with cooking spray, and heat it over medium heat. Add the almonds and panko breadcrumbs to the pan, and cook, stirring, until the almonds and breadcrumbs are golden brown and toasted. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
Coat the pan again with the cooking spray, and raise the heat to high. (Make sure you remove the pan from the heat when you spray.) Put the whole brussels sprouts leaves in the pan and cook until blackened in spots, around 2 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the shredded brussels sprouts.
In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and mustard together. Add the vinegar and whisk to combine. Pour over the brussels sprouts, toss, and top with the almonds and breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Make your sprouts extra crispy before adding dressing.
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