Braised Sprout, Smoked Poitrine & Bleu de Gex Winter Salad.

There is something optimistic about eating salad at the end of February. The days are noticeably longer, furry buds gather on fruit trees and a salad feels like an early taste of the balmy days to come.

In the garden at this time of year only a few proud towers of sprouts remain. After the heavy frosts the mini cabbages that cling to the stalks are extra sweet and even more so when braised with some smoked pork rib. 

Frisee salad is also in its prime in the winter. Its slightly bitter taste and crisp, curly leaves pair perfectly with a tangy vinaigrette and the sweet braised sprouts. Add some generous pieces of Bleu de Gex, a creamy blue cheese from the mountains of the Jura, and you have a simple winter salad packed with flavour, vitamins and promise. 

serves 2

  • 10 brussels sprouts
  • 200 g of smoked pork poitrine or bacon
  • half a head of frisee salad
  • 200 g Bleu de Gex

for the vinaigrette

  • 2 tbs Chardonnay wine vinegar

  • 150 ml good olive oil

  • pinch of salt

  • teaspoon of honey

  • teaspoon of Dijon Mustard. 

  • a squeeze of lemon juice

1. Cut the pork into 2cm cubes and cut the sprouts in half. 

2. In a heavy skillet add the pork and  a dash of oil and heat until it starts to hiss. Add the spouts. Cook until the pork has reduced by half and the spouts are blackening on their cut sides. 

3. Make the vinaigrette and prepare the frisee salad leaves by washing away any grit. Cut the cheese into chunks. 

4. Place the salad in a deep bowl and add the still hot pork and sprouts on top followed by the cheese and three tablespoons of the vinaigrette. 

5. Mix through well with a couple of wooden spoons. The secret here is that all the ingredients come into contact with one-another and the heat from the pork and sprouts gently wilts the salad leaves. 

Enjoy with a glass of Aligote or a favourite Belgian beer.