Boke Bowl Forks Over Its Coveted Brussels Sprout Recipe

Fueled by fish sauce and seasonal fruit, this cult-favorite salad is ready for the spotlight at your Thanksgiving table.

By Benjamin Tepler May 10, 2016 Published in the November 2014 issue of Portland Monthly

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Image: Nomad

Adored by food faddists and reviled by children everywhere, brussels sprouts have become one of Portland’s most entrenched culinary trends. While our city prides itself on a general brussels fluency, it is Boke Bowl’s crunchy, wildly flavored sprouts salad that reigns supreme. At his new, second location on NW 18th Avenue, Patrick Fleming fries up the tiny cabbages and pairs them with sweet, tangy wedges of citrus, fried tofu “croutons,” and a savory Vietnamese dressing that capitalizes on funky fish sauce. “Something special happens when those caramelized flavors mix with the nuoc cham sauce,” he says. “It’s a hell of a dish."

Brussels Sprout Salad

Serves 4

  • ¼ cup Fish Sauce Vinaigrette*
  • 1½ lbs brussels sprouts
  • 1 lb cauliflower, cut into florets
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 blood or cara cara oranges, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes**
  • 4 oz firm tofu, cut into ½-inch cubes***

ROAST: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove the outer leaves of the brussels sprouts and reserve. Halve brussels sprouts and toss in a bowl with cauliflower florets, olive oil, and salt. Roast cauliflower and brussels sprouts on a sheet pan for 30–40 minutes until golden brown, shaking occasionally for even browning. 

BLANCH: Meanwhile, blanch brussels sprout leaves in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Immediately cool in an ice bath and pat dry. 

COMBINE: Toss brussels sprouts, cauliflower, blanched leaves, citrus,
and tofu in a bowl, and dress with vinaigrette.

*Fish Sauce Vinaigrette 

  • ½ cup fish sauce 
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar 
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Thai or serrano chile, minced

Whisk ingredients in bowl. Store up to a month in the refrigerator.

**Fleming rotates his fruit seasonally, subbing in champagne mango instead of oranges in summer, and using ruby grapefruit or the seeds of half a pomegranate in the colder months.

***Fleming brines, smokes, and fries his tofu for Boke’s bacon-flavored “croutons.” At home, he recommends using Bui Natural’s fried tofu, available at Fubonn, Uwajimaya, or Bui’s headquarters at 520 NE 76th Ave.

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