A salad made with Brussels sprouts might not scream Christmas at first, but Aarón Sánchez's version, which uses seasonal ingredients and layers of spice, is one of his signature holiday sides.
The salad is made with fried Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, pomegranate seeds and crumbled cotija cheese. Sánchez has said this dish "could satisfy even the most carnivorous guest." And it's been doing just that at his New Orleans restaurant Johnny Sánchez, where the salad frequently makes appearances on his menu.
Sánchez demonstrating how he makes his dish for Fox News. Sánchez says all home chefs — novices and more seasoned cooks alike — should be able to easily recreate this dish at home, as long as they follow one simple rule: Taste your food as you're cooking!
Oh, and don't forget the jalapeno dressing, which was inspired by a dressing Sánchez used to make while working under Chef Paul Prudhomme's K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen in his younger years.
Ready to get cooking? Keep reading for the salad recipe, then visit ChefAaronSanchez.com for the secret to his vinaigrette.
- 1 large butternut squash
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground fennel
- ¼ teaspoon ground yellow mustard
- ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 8 cups (about 790 grams) Brussels sprouts
- 2 quarts canola or vegetable oil for frying
- 1 cup Roasted Jalapeño Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped, plus more for serving
- 1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced
- ½ cup crumbled cotija cheese
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
- Preheat the oven to 375° Fahrenheit (190° Celsius) and line a baking sheet with cooking parchment. Peel and seed the squash, then cut it into 1-inch pieces. Toss with the olive oil, salt, and all the spices, then spread on the sheet in a single layer. Roast until tender with lightly browned edges, 20 to 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, halve the Brussels sprouts and trim their tough outer leaves. (If you prefer to roast the Brussels sprouts instead of deep-frying them, see note below.) Pour the canola oil into a large heavy-bottomed pot and clip a thermometer to the side. Line a plate or wire rack with paper towels.
- Bring the canola oil to 375° F (190° C) over medium-high heat and fry the sprouts in batches until golden brown, about 2 minutes per batch. Use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer them to the lined plate, season with salt, and continue with the rest.
- Pour the vinaigrette into a large mixing bowl, then gently fold in the squash, Brussels sprouts, cilantro, and serrano pepper to coat. Scatter the cheese and a handful of pomegranate seeds over the top for serving.
Note: To roast the brussels sprouts, line another baking sheet with cooking parchment and adjust the oven to 400° F (205° C). Prep the sprouts as described in Step 2, then toss them in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt, and roast until deeply golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
For the rest of the recipe, including the secret to Sanchez's jalapeno vinaigrette, visit ChefAaronSanchez.com.