Servings: 8 Prep: 19 mins Cook: 1 min Total: 20 mins
When I was younger, I worked in a grocery store deli. I really don’t know the grand total, but I suspect we had upwards of 100 different salads we’d display in our beautiful display cases. One of them was a broccoli salad; consisting primarily of broccoli, carrots, sunflower seeds and coleslaw dressing, if memory serves. It was really VERY popular, but … I confess to struggling with a big bowl of raw broccoli, whether it’s dressed up for a night on the town, or not. It’s just simply not my bag.
I recently got a request for more salads, so I cruised through the leafy greens of my mind and pulled this one out of the archives, but … twisted it around to make it more personally appealing. The main “trick” is something called “blanching and shocking”, which essentially means you fully or partially cook something in boiling water and then plunge it into ice water. This act completely stops the cooking process in its tracks, while also preserving the vibrant colors and a large portion of the nutritional integrity. It stops the aging/oxidation of the ingredient.
In THIS case, I’ve quickly blanched the broccoli and carrots in salted water for merely 1 minute. This allows them to keep that crispity crunch and also seems to boost the color to an even more brilliant green and orange. With the addition of the pecans, this salad has a sublime textural profile. Finally, it reads much more pleasing to my own palette and even feels a very tiny little bit like cheating, due to the little bits of sweet cranberries, but … it’s actually an incredible quick little salad which would complement almost any meal. YUM!
Note: I’m a big fan of broccoli stems. When you cut the florets off of the large broccoli trunk, you’re left with something that looks like what the Jolly Green Giant might use for lumber, if he were a very very small giant. Cut off the bigger branches, then with a vegetable peeler, peel the hard fibrous skin on the outside. You’ll eventually get a a beautiful, bright, almost white green core. This is the “broccoli heart” and it’s delicious! Cut the center core into pieces about the same size as the florets and cook it right along with them. Enjoy!
Broccoli Salad with Carrot, Cranberries and BaconPrint Rate
- 1 large bunch broccoli including stalks, cut into florets
- 1 large carrot washed and cut into sticks
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries coursely chopped
- 1/2 cup bacon bits
- 1/2 cup pecan halves toasted and coursely chopped
- 18 leaves fresh basil hand torn
- 1/4 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil over high heat. Once the water boils, add a large amount of salt. The water should be pretty salty.
- Get a large bowl or pot of ice water ready.
- Add your broccoli and carrots to the boiling water. Allow them to boil for 1 minute.
- After 1 minute, remove the broccoli and carrots from the boiling water (colander or slotted spoon) and immediately place the veggies in the bowl of ice water. Make sure they are completely submerged. Stir them around, so they chill quickly.
- Leave the veggies in the ice water for about 5 minutes, or until thoroughly chilled. If all the ice melts ... add a little more ice! The veggies need to be completely and totally chilled.
- After the veggies have chilled, strain them through a colander and allow them to drip dry over a bowl, or in the sink. You want to eliminate as much water as possible.
- While the veggies drip dry, add the rest of your ingredients to a large bowl.
- Add your chilled and dried veggies to the salad bowl.
- Toss all the ingredients together and taste. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve!
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