When we moved from Florida to Maryland in the early aughts, our Realtor couldn’t understand my winter concerns.

“This is not the North!” she huffed, after my third or fourth question about antifreeze and snowsuits. “It’s south of the Mason-Dixon line!”

For you, maybe. But after 18 years in the Sunshine State, Alabama was “the North” to me.

I moved to Florida after college — ostensibly for a job, but really for the warmth. Midwest winters had worn me down (snow on Easter morning!). Years and a family later, I moved to Maryland with no outerwear, no ability to drive in the snow and only rudimentary memories of seasons.

It was a tough transition. When you spend almost two decades of your life in a place where the sun always shines and 60 degrees is sweater weather, a cold, gray winter shocks the system.

But I’ve adapted. I look forward to the seasons now. I’m even a little disappointed by this year’s ultra-mild, Mid-Atlantic winter.

Still, nothing stokes my spirits quite like spring: The buds, the blooms …

The food.

Tender asparagus. Pungent radishes. Tender spinach and crisp sugar snap peas.

Those crops haven’t emerged yet. So last night, I straddled the seasons with this salad:


Roasted Brussels sprouts (winter) tossed with handfuls of parsley and scallions (spring). I threw in oven-crisped croutons just because I had some stale bread lying around, then dressed everything with a simple sherry-olive oil vinaigrette.

It’s a winter dish for a southern girl.

And a springtime treat for the winter-weary.

Brussels Sprouts Salad With Parmesan Croutons

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • Olive oil
  • Sherry wine vinegar
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups parsley, roughly chopped
  • 3 1-inch slices sourdough bread
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then coat the foil with nonstick spray.

Cut the ends off the Brussels sprouts. Halve the sprouts (quarter the larger ones), and place them on your prepared baking sheet.

Toss the sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add a few of sprinkles of sherry wine vinegar and toss again.

Place the sprouts in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Line another baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat it with nonstick spray.

brussels-breadCut the sourdough bread into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes. Place on the baking sheet, then drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle on a few finger-fuls of Parmesan cheese and toss.

Bake the bread in the oven for 10 minutes, stirring once. Remove and let cool.

Place the tablespoon of sherry wine vinegar in the bottom of a large salad bowl. Whisk in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, then add the scallions and parsley.

When the sprouts are done, spoon them into the salad bowl. (Include any leftover olive oil.)

Add the bread and Parmesan and toss well.

Serve warm or at room temperature.