Brussels Sprout Salad with Bacon, Pecorino Romano & Candied Pecans

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As needed Kosher salt
1-1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts, separated into leaves
½  small red onion, sliced very thinly
As needed Bacon dressing (recipe follows)
5 Tbsp.  pecorino Romano; 3 Tbsp. very finely grated, 2 Tbsp. shaved
1/2 cup  candied pecans (recipe follows)
To taste freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring 2 quarts of water and 2 tsp of salt to a boil. Have a colander and mixing bowl with ice water ready. Plunge the Brussels sprout leaves into the boiling water for a minute; drain in the colander and immerse in the ice water. This sets the color and stops the cooking. They should still be somewhat crisp. Dry the leaves in a salad spinner and keep cool. 

2. Combine the sprouts and onion in a mixing bowl and dress with enough of the Bacon Dressing to coat each leaf. Take your time with this step; gently separate the leaves to ensure each leaf is dressed. Add the 3 Tbsp of finely grated cheese and toss. Divide between 6 plates. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 Tbsp shaved cheese and the pecans, give a twist of black pepper and serve.

 Yield: 4-6 servings      

Mustard Bacon Vinaigrette
Yields: 1 cup

1 thick slice Bacon, tiny dice
1/4 each Red onion, diced
1/2 each Shallot, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
¼ cup  Red wine vinegar
1/2 cup  Water
1 tsp.   Sugar
1 Tbsp.  Dijon mustard
As needed Cornstarch dissolved in a little cold water (about 1 tsp)
1 each  Green onion, sliced
1 tsp  Fresh tarragon, minced
To taste  Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

1. In a heavy saucepan, render bacon over medium heat until brown.  Add onions, shallots & garlic; cook 3 minutes or so until softened.  Add vinegar and water.  Bring to a boil and add sugar and mustard.
2. Simmer over a low heat and thicken lightly with cornstarch.
3. Add the green onion and tarragon; season to taste with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Candied Pecans
Yields: 1 cup

As needed Oil for frying
½ cup   Water
1-1/2 cups Sugar
¼ cup  Honey
1 cup  Pecans

1. Preheat oil an electric deep-fat fryer, or if you do not have a fryer, heat two cups of oil in a saucepan until it reaches 350 degrees. Adjust heat so it maintains that temperature.
2. In another small saucepan, bring the water, sugar, and honey to a boil. Cook a few minutes until it reduces to a corn syrup-like consistency (about 240 degrees on a candy thermometer).
3. Gently stir the pecans into the syrup until well coated; strain. Slowly spoon the pecans into the hot oil right away, being very careful as they may cause the oil to spatter. Fry pecans for one minute, remove with a slotted spoon and spread out on a baking sheet to cool.