Blue is a love it-or-hate it kind of cheese, one that harkens back to old-school steakhouse salads and Buffalo wing dip, that some get excited about and others claim smells of feet. (Fact: the bacterium brevibacterium linens, which gives many blue cheeses its aroma, is also responsible for foot odor.) Those who find blue cheese a little too much served straight-up often love it with a buffer; when it’s in other things, blue’s sharp saltiness can be the transformative flavor-punch you may have not even known you were looking for.
When shopping for blue cheese, you’ll be presented with plenty of choices; blues come in cow’s milk, goat’s milk and sheep’s milk varieties; some firm, others soft, with rinds and without – all having had cultures added to give it its distinctive blue-green mouldy veins. It makes a perfect pairing for Brussels sprouts, which are delicious thinly sliced into slaw, sparing the diner the texture of a whole (yet teeny) cabbage-like sprout. Bacon also goes well with both, and blue cheese has an affinity to pears. All come to the party in this fantastic slaw.
Brussels Sprout Slaw with Pears, Bacon, Pecans and Blue Cheese
If you’re not a blue cheese fan, this slaw is just as tasty without.
1-2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed
1 small pear or tart apple, chopped
2 slices bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted
1/4-1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. cup grainy Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the Brussels sprouts for 5 minutes; drain and run under cool water. Shake off any excess water and run the sprouts through a food processor with a 1/8″-1/4″ slicing disk, or cut them all thinly by hand. Transfer to a large bowl.
In a bowl or jar, shake or whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Toss the Brussels sprouts with as much dressing as you like; let marinate for about an hour. Right before serving, add the apple, bacon, walnuts and blue cheese.