Brussels Sprout Salad. (Renee Comet for The Washington Post; styling by Bonnie S. Benwick)

F or years, one of the most popular dishes at Jaleo in downtown Washington has been something that José Andrés came up with on the fly after a tour of the Penn Quarter FreshFarm Market. It’s a salad of Brussels sprouts and seasonal (summer-turning-to-autumn) fruit, dressed simply with a sherry vinaigrette and garnished with salty cubes of jamon serrano, the prized ham of his native Spain. But according to Jaleo executive chef Ramon Martinez, it wasn’t until Andrés decided those sprouts should be separated into individual leaves that the salad became sublime.

Does it help to have a team of sous-chefs who can prep all those little sprouts? Sure. But if you have a sharp paring knife — and are serving four rather than a restaurant full of patrons — the work goes quickly. Now that Brussels sprouts are easy to come by much of the year, this vibrant salad seems just as appropriate as spring turns to summer.

Brussels Sprout Salad

4 servings

To make the salad vegetarian, omit the Serrano ham.

Jamon Serrano can be found at Pescadeli in Bethesda, at Wagshal’s Delicatessen in the District, or online at LaTienda.com.

INGREDIENTS

12 dried apricot halves, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup diced jamon Serrano (ham; optional; see headnote)

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

2 pounds Brussels sprouts

3/4 cup peeled, cored and diced Granny Smith apple

12 green grapes, halved lengthwise

1 teaspoon flaked sea salt

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives, for garnish

Edible flowers, for garnish (optional)

Microgreens, for garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Place the apricots in a small bowl, and pour boiling water over them to cover. Let them sit until they plump, 10 to 20 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the apricots onto a paper towel to dry.

If using the jamon, heat the oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the jamon and cook it briefly, just to warm it through but not brown it, 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. Once it’s cool, whisk in the sherry vinegar to form a vinaigrette. (If you aren’t using the jamon, simply whisk together the oil and sherry without heating.)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, separate and detach all the leaves from each Brussels sprout: Use a paring knife to trim the stem, removing one layer of leaves, then trim the stem further, removing another layer, continuing until all the leaves are removed. Discard the stems.

Once the water is boiling, add the Brussels sprout leaves; cook them just until they turn bright green and soften slightly, 90 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the leaves to paper towels to dry.

Toss the leaves in a large bowl with the apples, grapes and about half of the sherry vinaigrette, making sure to include some of the jamon, if using. Divide the salad among individual plates. Add small dollops of the plumped apricots. Sprinkle with sea salt, chives, flowers and microgreens, if using, and serve.

SOURCE: Adapted from a recipe from José Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup.

Tested by Joe Yonan; email questions to food@washpost.com

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