This dish was totally inspired by the warm salad of Brussels sprouts leaves with fried capers and hazelnuts at Contigo, a great Spanish and Catalan restaurant in San Francisco. We had a very memorable meal there a few weeks ago, but it was this dish that took the top prize. Fresh, warm, and interesting.
This recipe riffs off that one but sticks to a slightly easier preparation by hashing the sprouts (just chop them up fine, or use a mandoline).
1 pound small Brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed
1/2 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup capers, well-drained
1 lemon, squeezed for juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Remove any loose or yellow leaves from the Brussels sprouts, and slice each sprout in half from top to bottom. Then chop them roughly into shreds, or hash them in a food processor.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add the chopped hazelnuts. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, shaking the pan frequently. When the nuts are turning golden brown and smelling toasty, remove them from the pan and toss with the hashed Brussels sprouts.
Add the olive oil to the pan and set it over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the capers. (Stand back and be careful; the oil will spit and splutter up!) Fry the capers for about 60 seconds, or until they start opening like little flowerbuds.
Add the Brussels sprouts and hazelnuts back in to the pan. Stir thoroughly to coat the sprouts with the oil and to mix in the capers. Pour in the lemon juice and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the sprouts are tender but still snappy. Remove from the heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
(Image: Faith Durand)