I added in the bacon emphasis for those of you that crave something meatier than just plain vegetable salads. Of course, lets be honest, I really just added it in because who doesn't love bacon?
Don't get me wrong, I love plain cooked veggies. Like, really, really love them.
Have I mentioned before that my mom and I would fight over the cold leftover steamed Brussels sprouts in the fridge? And plain steamed broccoli comes in a close second in my book.
It's just that not everyone (ahem *my significant other*) shares my affinity for plain steamed veggies. And really, who can blame him when you realize all the exciting flavor combinations and preparations you can use veggies in. Plus this broccoli (and BACON) salad is just plain more substantial than steamed broccoli...and did I mention, delicious?
The brightly tinted green broccoli mingles with bits of meaty bacon and little raisin jewels hinting at the marriage of wonderful flavors to come. Sweet, salty, tangy and yet undeniably refreshing.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! Now onto the recipe...
As with any good recipe, start by frying up some chopped bacon over medium heat.
I used 3 thick slices, but I certainly won't tell anyone if you use more.
Allow it to cook until just shy of crispy. We're going for a meaty texture here, not bacon bits. Though if you like your bacon crispy, that's fine too.
Set aside to cool.
Sorry. It's just that bacon is so deliciously photogenic.
Chop up some scallions (aka green onions). I used 1/4 cup.
You're going to need an equal amount of raisins. I prefer golden raisins. They're just so much prettier.
Of course you could use regular raisins or dried cranberries instead. Mmm...dried cranberries.
Finally, grate 1/3 cup of cheese. Or so, doesn't need to be exact. I used (white) cheddar.
If you're going for a dairy free version, you could replace the cheese with sliced almonds and/or sunflower seeds.
For the dressing, whisk together 1/2 cup mayo, 1/8 cup white vinegar, 1/8 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt. Add freshly ground pepper to taste.
Don't mind the fact that I originally made twice that amount of dressing. I then realized that I was supposed to be going for broccoli salad, not broccoli - mayonnaise soup. My mistake.
By the way, 1/8 cup is equal to two tablespoons.
Now for the broccoli.
Use 6-8 cups of florets, or about 1 large or two smallish heads of broccoli, or just over a pound if you like using weight measurements. Did I give you enough options?
You can leave the broccoli raw, but if you're like me you like the taste, and lets be honest - the digestibility - of blanched broccoli better.
Blanching is pretty easy. It involves two steps: cooking and cooling. Plan ahead by setting out a big bowl filled with some water and a lot of ice.
Now just bring a pot of water to boiling, drop in the broccoli florets and let them cook for 1 minute. Then, quickly drain the broccoli and submerge it in the ice bowl.
Not too hard, eh?
Once the broccoli has cooled, drain and pat dry. A paper towel works well.
Too much water will make our dressing soupy. Once again, not really what we're going for.
Add all the other topping ingredients to the bowl.
Marvel at the deliciousness before you.
Pour on the dressing and mix.
Now, I recommend letting this sit for at least an hour or two in the fridge to let the dressing marry with the vegetables and thicken up a little as well. I took the picture immediately, but if you let it refrigerate, the dressing will definitely coat the florets with even more deliciousness.
Then again it's difficult to wait before digging in. I won't judge.
Broccoli (and BACON) Salad
6-8 cups broccoli florets
3 slices bacon, chopped and cooked
1/4 cup scallions (green onions), chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup grated cheese (such as cheddar)
1/2 cup mayo
1/8 cup white vinegar
1/8 cup sugar
freshly ground pepper
Blanch the broccoli if desired. Drain and pat dry. Mix with other dry ingredients (bacon through cheese). For dressing, whisk together mayo, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Add pepper to taste. Pour over dry ingredients, refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
This salad is also great as a make-ahead dish.
What's your favorite broccoli preparation?