Friendsgiving 2017: Brussels Sprouts, Bacon and Cornbread Panzanella Salad.
Welcome to my new favorite way to eat brussels!
While I’ve made a million (okay, maybe three?) versions of a brussels sprouts salad on my blog over the years, this one is taking the cake. Or the bread. The cornbread! It makes me embarrassingly happy and the flavor combination is pure heaven.
Let’s get into it!
Panzanella with cornbread isn’t really a new thing over here. I made a black bean and cornbread panzanella yearssss ago (hello embarrassment) which is super good, even if it completely bastardizes the idea of a panzanella salad.
Yes I know it does. Sorry! But not really.
Like I said. The flavors here are unreal. Oh my heavens. Sautéed brussels, smoky bacon, slightly sweet cornbread, a pop of tart brightness from the pomegranate seeds. What else do we even need?
Nothing. We need nothing else.
Except maybe a cocktail and dessert. For sure.
Oh wait – fresh figs too! Yesss. They are the ultimate. If you can’t find them now (I just saw a few at Whole Foods last week), leave ‘em out! I wouldn’t replace them with anything else, because, hello, figs are irreplaceable.
This entire thing is drizzled with a pomegranate vinaigrette so there is that too. How much love can one salad get?
Also! Very important things.
If you are a texture freak like I am, you will be alllll over this. I adore it for the crunch and the overall different bites we have going on. The cornbread is soft, the bacon is crunchy and the brussels fall somewhere riiiight in the middle.
And I love that it’s basically a fall and winter salad, so you don’t HAVE to limit it to the holidays, even though it makes a stunning side dish. I’ll be enjoying this through January and February too!
I told you guys that I am utterly in LOVE with my entire Friendsgiving spread this year, but this one might really be my ultimate favorite.
Ugh, I say that now, but wait until tomorrow. And then Friday. And then Sunday. WHY CAN’T I JUST BE A REGULAR PERSON WITH A REGULAR FAVORITE.
- 1 batch of your favorite cornbread recipe below, cut into cubes
- 6 slices bacon chopped
- 1 pound brussels sprouts stems removed and halved
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup fresh or dried! figs, sliced
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup finely ground yellow or white cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup creamed corn
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 garlic clove minced
- pinches of: salt pepper & nutmeg
- 1/4 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread cornbread cubes on a baking sheet. Bake for 6 to 7 minutes, toss, then bake for 6 to 8 minutes more, until golden and toasted. Set aside.
While the bread is toasting, heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the bacon. Cook until it is crispy and the fat is rendered. Remove it with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel to drain any excess grease. Keep the skillet over medium heat and add the brussels sprouts. Add a pinch of salt (you might want more, but the bacon will be salty!) and pepper and toss well. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are crisp and bright green. Stir in the garlic and turn off the heat.
In a large bowl, place the cornbread cubes and add the brussels sprouts on top. Toss well. Add in the figs (fresh or dry both work! dried figs will be sweeter, like adding dried fruit to your salad!), pomegranate arils and bacon, tossing well. Drizzle on some of the dressing and toss to combine. Taste and season the salad additionally if desired.
Preheat the oven to 375. Spray an 8×8-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the corn, butter, milk, heavy cream/half and half, and the eggs, stirring until smooth. Pour the batter into the pan and bake it for 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is slightly golden and the bread is set.
Whisk together the mustard, honey, garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg, juice and vinegar. Slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking continuously until the dressing is emulsified. This keeps great in the fridge in a sealed container!
And it’s just the prettiest, right?!