I Hope That’s Not Butter

As you know, I love cooking for a crush, or nowadays, for my Knight in Shining Armour. But as we settle into each other, sometimes the shine loses its luster slightly. Where previously my efforts in the kitchen would be met with something sounding like “oooooh”, “ahhhhhh”, and “yummmmmm”, it may now be met with, “Is that butter? I hope that’s not butter cause I don’t eat butter.”

I don’t blame him, or the process of a couple settling into each other. I love both. And it all makes sense: previously, he was trying to get laid and those yummy noises were essential in that process. OK, benefit of the doubt here, maybe trying wasn’t his primary objective, but it’s certainly a secondary application always running in the background is it not?

And just as I don’t blame him, I hope he doesn’t blame me for the drastically disproportionate temper tantrum that I had upon hearing him questioning my butter.

I’m calling this one The Overdue Salad because it took my cousin Robert a few months and several reminders to finally email me this delightful appetizer.

The Overdue Salad, aka, Frisée and Endive Salad with Warm Brussels Sprouts and Toasted Pecans

For vinaigrette
3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup minced shallot (I used regular onions because I didn’t buy shallots …and sometimes their sweetness makes me gag)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil

Make vinaigrette:
Whisk together vinegar, water, mustard, shallot, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking.

For salad
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces (I used more because I love it! Butter is what makes me like brussels sprouts. And I forgot that he doesn’t want to eat butter)
1 lb Brussels sprouts (preferably small), trimmed and halved lengthwise (quartered if large)
1/2 cup pecan halves, halved lengthwise
1 teaspoon salt
6 oz frisée, trimmed and torn into bite-size pieces (4 cups) (didn’t even bother! I just use the endives, which I love, but you could use any sort of greenery rather than frisée)
3 Belgian endives (1 lb), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices

Make salad:
Preheat oven to 400F.

Melt butter in a large shallow baking pan (1 inch deep) in lower third of oven, about 3 minutes. Toss sprouts in pan with butter, pecans, and salt. Arrange sprouts, cut sides down, in 1 layer and roast in lower third of oven until undersides of sprouts are golden and nuts are fragrant, 12 to 15 minutes.

Whisk vinaigrette, then transfer warm sprouts and nuts to a large bowl and toss with frisée, endive, and enough vinaigrette to coat. Serve immediately.

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