Insomniac Chef

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Tag: veggies

Modern Waldorf Salad

Close Up Apple Celery Hazelnut Salad

Back away from the mayo and the raisins…

There are some major problems with salad these days.  Most salads suffer from so many ingredients that any one component cannot be identified.  The general practice just seems to be “cover up all the lettuce”.  This approach misses all the potential that a good green salad has!  The key to a great salad isn’t more stuff, it’s just balance.  A perfect balance of sweet, tart, and earthy creates a perfect first course or side.

Seriously, this is super easy and looks fancy AF.

Seriously, this is super easy and looks fancy AF.

Modern Waldorf Salad

Serves 4 – 6    Prep Time: 30 minutes    Cook Time: 0    Total Time: 30 minutes



3      Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3      Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1      Tbsp honey
1/4  tsp sea salt (to taste)
1/8  tsp freshly ground pepper


1       apple (Fuji or Braeburn) peeled, and sliced at 1/8 inches on a mandolin
2       celery ribs, cut very thin on the bias (you can cut it normally, but bias is prettier)
1       bag of Romaine lettuce, pre-washed and pre-cut
1/4  cup parsley, coarsely chopped
6       oz good quality Stilton
1/2  cup raw hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and roughly chopped.  Toast over medium heat (Takes about 4 – 6 minutes. Toss often to prevent scorching.  Pull off when they smell really nutty and the skins split.  Rub in a towel to remove the skins.  If some skin is left on, it’s not a big deal)


  1. Whisk honey, extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar together.  In a large bowl, toss the apples and celery together with the dressing.  Let stand 5 – 10 minutes.  The longer it sits, the more dressing the apple and celery will absorb making it more potent and soft in texture.
  2. On each plate, create a small bed of Romaine.  Sprinkle even amounts of parsley over the lettuce.  Split the apple celery mix evenly between all plates and add on top of the lettuce mixture.  Then top with hazelnuts and Stilton.   Add another couple of teaspoons of dressing to each plate of salad, to taste.  Serve immediately.

This recipe was inspired by the folks at Cook’s Illustrated –

* Note about this recipe – you can substitute any cheese from the blue cheese family.  I prefer Stilton as it is one of the driest blue cheese varieties.  Be mindful that if you pick a traditional or Danish blue cheese that it is creamier and will coat your mouth.  This may dull some of the bright flavors in this salad.

Happy cooking, everyone!


Brussels Sprouts with Browned Butter (Choux de Bruxelles au Beurre Noisette)

Delicious Butter...

Finally, my first post!  I hope you’re as excited as I am.  I love Brussels sprouts, but I hate how they’re cooked most of the time.  Never, never, never eat Brussels sprouts past February.  Out of season sprouts will taste bitter and have a tough and waxy texture.  Gross…

This recipe was developed by me as Mr. Montagné did not see fit to include a recipe for this.  Enjoy!

Brussels Sprouts with Browned Butter

Serves: 4    Prep Time: 15 minutes     Cook Time: 22 minutes     Total Time: 37 minutes


Boil Those Sprouts!

1 lb Brussels sprouts – base trimmed and outer leaves removed and rinsed

8 cups of water

1 Tbsp table salt

  1. Bring 8 cups of water to a rolling boil.
  2. Add the salt and wait for the water to begin to roll again.
  3. Drop in all the trimmed Brussels sprouts.
  4. Boil for at least 5 minutes.  You can boil them up to 8 minutes if you prefer the sprouts softer.
  5. Once the sprouts are bright green and give slightly to the pressure of a fork, use a skimmer to remove the sprouts and place them quickly in a heatproof glass bowl.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then with a towel.

Browned Butter:

Browning the Butter

4 Tbsp unsalted butter – room temperature – cut into 4 pieces

  1. In a cold pan set to medium heat, melt the butter slowly.
  2. Continue to swirl the pan as the milk solids start to bubble.
  3. Continue swirling, almost constantly.  The bubbling will slow and the solids will begin to sink.
  4. When you see the butter begin to turn a beautiful deep brown and a nutty aroma comes from the pan.  You’re done!
  5. Pull the pan off the heat.

Your Browned Butter is Ready

  1. Quickly, cut the hot sprouts in half, pole-to-pole, with a paring knife.
  2. Arrange the Brussels sprouts on a plate, cut side up.
  3. Pour a “healthy” amount of the browned butter over the sprouts.
  4. Salt to taste with a nice sea salt.

*Note – this is one of the few times that I will tell you to skip the pepper.  Brussels sprouts have a subtle sweetness that black pepper masks.  If you must pepper, use a white pepper as it has a much softer flavor.

Do you think this recipe works?  Let me know your thoughts.



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