I often buy the large three pound bags of broccoli florets sold at Sam’s and Costco. Having a stash on hand makes it easy for me to work broccoli into the meal plan. Of course, the simplest approach is to steam or simmer it and serve it as a side. Sometimes my husband makes cheesy broccoli, or I roast the florets with a mess of other vegetables. The bottom line is that I always have broccoli around to experiment with.
Last night, thanks to my recent posts on winter salads, I was inspired to make a broccoli salad. The ubiquitous broccoli salad easily found online often uses raw florets, mayonnaise, raisins and sometimes bacon. This rendition is good but I wanted something healthier and a little more palatable. While standing in my kitchen I wondered: Could I soften and cook the broccoli itself while at the same time keep a bright fresh color and appealing aroma? Could I add a seasonal fruit to create some natural sweetness thereby balancing the bitterness of broccoli? Would nuts or seeds add crunch to replace that crispy bacon found in the other version?
I soon concocted this salad and dressed it with the Curry Cilantro Vinaigrette featured in yesterday’s blog post. One of the keys to this salad is cooking the broccoli only slightly and then plunging it into cold water to stop the cooking and keep that bright green color. This is a technique that is often used with green beans or when preparing vegetables for the freezer. It worked great in this salad!
The leftovers kept beautifully in fridge overnight and made a great lunch today. The curry flavor (and color) infused the salad even more and the broccoli and apple stayed appealingly crunchy. (Note: This photo was taken today so the salad looks a bit softer and more yellow than when I made it yesterday because everything had time to meld together in the fridge.)
Broccoli, Apple and Pine Nut Salad with Curry Cilantro Vinaigrette
3 cups chopped broccoli florets
1/2 apple, diced
2 scallions, sliced
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted lightly
2-3 tablespoons curry cilantro vinaigrette, or dressing of your choice
Prepare the broccoli: put the broccoli in a pan, cover with water and simmer over moderate heat for about three minutes, or just until it turns a bright green color and is crunchy. Drain broccoli, rinse quickly with cold water and plunge into a pan of cold water to stop the cooking and set the bright color and crunch. Drain well. Chop the broccoli finer if desired.
in a large bowl toss the broccoli, apple, scallions, and pine nuts. Drizzle with about two to three tablespoons of dressing, or to taste, and toss well. Season with salt and pepper.
Serves two to four.