Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Another Super Salad

Two potluck dinners in one week means two favorite salads.  This one boasts the crunch of finely chopped broccoli and toasted sliced almonds, the sweetness of raisins, and the nip of red onion, bound lightly with tangy, creamy dressing. It's perfect for when you want the aforementioned tangy and creamy in a salad that doesn't involve cabbage.

I was introduced to the idea by Deb at Smitten Kitchen, although I have of course adapted it to my own tastes because I can now.

Deb uses her buttermilk dressing.  I most often use the standard homemade cole slaw dressing combo of mayonnaise, white vinegar, and sugar, although sometimes I add a little buttermilk if I feel in that mood.  (This time I did.)  It's good either way.

My other customization is dispensing with measuring.  I start with what broccoli I have, using the stems as well as the florets.  Please consider doing so, too.  The stems are eminently edible, in case you didn't know.  Removing the withered end and the tough outer covering reveals a juicy-crisp, almost tuberous bonus ingredient--the very thing that's in those plastic bags of "broccoli slaw" at the grocery store, except that you didn't pay $2.99 for it, and it's not dried out! Run it through the food processor's shredding disk or your hand shredder and feel frugally victorious.

As for the other ingredients, I adjust them to my tastes.  Instead of dried cranberries, I use raisins because they're always in my pantry.  I like more of them, too, as well as more nuts, and less onion.  The dressing I just eyeball, in much the same way as I make my ranch-like dressing.

I do totally agree with Deb about one step: toasting the almonds.  I know about the magic of this step. I can't believe it took me this long to do it for this salad!  Do not be the dope I was.  Toast the nuts and toast yourself for doing so.

One note about getting broccoli florets finely chopped: not as easy as it sounds.  Deb suggests using the slicing blade of the food processor.  That technique seems to yield me a goodly number of thin slabs that still require some knife work to qualify as small and and harmonious with the shredded stems.  I've also tried doing all the chopping and shredding by hand, but that's a bit tedious.  I usually settle for the compromise of using Deb's suggestion and fine tuning it by hand.  And no, I can't just leave the slabs.  Why, that's like leaving the blankets uneven on the bed!  Crazy talk!

I've produced a recipe here, but do as you feel led, because you can, too. 

Broccoli Slaw
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes about six cups of slaw

2 heads of broccoli
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise 
Buttermilk to thin, if desired
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, if desired

Trim broccoli and cut it into large chunks. From here, you can either feed it through your food processor’s slicing blade or simply hand chop it into smaller pieces. I used the florets and the stem, shredded, but if you have a broccoli stem aversion you can just use the tops.

Toss the sliced broccoli with the almonds, raisins or cranberries, and red onion in a large bowl. Meanwhile, whisk the dressing ingredients in a smaller one.  Pour the dressing over the broccoli and toss it well. Season well with salt and pepper to taste if desired.

Store in refrigerator.

1 comment:

Dave Flora said...

This is such a welcome and easy "go-to" salad! Great for summer...