Yotam Ottolenghi’s Raw Brussels Sprout Nests with Oyster Mushrooms and Quail’s Eggs
With their characteristic inventiveness, Ottolenghi and NOPI chef Ramael Scully combine raw Brussels sprouts with a sweet dressing, earthy mushrooms, and shavings of tangy Manchego cheese to create an impressive starter.
Brussels sprouts? Raw? We know that this requires a double leap of faith for some, but trust us here. With the sweet dressing, earthy mushrooms and thin slices of cheese, this is an unusual and delicious winter starter or salad. Plated up like a nest, with the quail’s eggs perched inside, it looks pretty as a picture as well. Use a mandolin, if you have one, to slice the Brussels as thinly as you can. Take great care, though, as you’ll be cutting very close to the blade.
Instead of the red wine vinegar and lemon juice suggested overleaf, we use verjuice at the restaurant. Made from semi-ripe and unfermented wine grapes, verjuice has a distinctive taste – part tart, part sweet – that we love. It’s a common ingredient in Australia, so has always been a Scully staple, but it’s still relatively hard to get hold of here. Shops are beginning to stock it, though, so keep an eye out and buy some if you see it. If you use verjuice (rather than red wine vinegar and lemon juice), you’ll need to simmer 180ml in a small pan on a medium heat for about 10 minutes, until just 2 tablespoons of liquid remain.
When this is served at NOPI, the quail’s eggs are poached rather than soft-boiled. We’ve simplified the method here, so that they can all be soft-boiled at once, but poach them individually, if you want to.
|200g||oyster mushrooms, cleaned of any dirt and pulled into halves, if large|
|60ml||olive oil, plus extra to finish|
|1½ tbsp||lemon juice|
|1½ tsp||red wine vinegar|
|1½ tsp||maple syrup|
|250g||Brussels sprouts, tough outer layers removed and thinly sliced|
|20g||parsley, finely chopped|
|60g||mature Manchego (or aged pecorino), shaved into thin slices using a vegetable peeler|
|coarse sea salt and black pepper|
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas mark 5.
2. Mix the mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ¼ teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking tray and roast for 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
3. To make the dressing, place the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a mixing bowl with the lemon juice, vinegar, maple syrup, ¼ teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Whisk well to combine, and set aside.
4. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Prepare a bowl full of ice-cold water alongside. Once the water is boiling, use a slotted spoon to carefully lower in all the eggs. Cook for exactly 2 minutes, then transfer them to the bowl of iced water to halt their cooking. Set aside until cool, then peel and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and some black pepper.
5. Place the sprouts, parsley, Manchego and mushrooms in a mixing bowl. Pour over the dressing and toss gently: you don’t want the cheese to break too much. Spread the salad out between four plates, making a little well in the middle to top with the quail’s eggs, breaking some of them in half as you go. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and serve.