Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Broccoli Salad

(This is approximately 1.5 times Shayna's recipe.  The original was never enough for our New Year's Eve party.)
Fine if made a day or two before - but see WARNING

     2-3 broccoli crowns (about 3 qts after cutting)
Cutting:  Divide crowns into tiny trees, 1/2 to 3/4" tall, by cutting the stem at branch points and then cutting or tearing to divide.  Slice the remaining stem portions very thin and cut larger slices into 1/2" squares.
Cooking:  Shayna said to steam the broccoli for 1 minute. I prefer to blanch it.  Fill a dutch oven or other large pot ~ 2/3 full with water. Add salt if desired, maybe 1/2 tsp. Bring to boil. Throw in broccoli and cook (high heat) for about 3 minutes.  This will be approximately the time it takes for the water to begin boiling again (not necessarily big bubbles). Broccoli should be bright green but crisp rather than soft.  Drain, cool down with cold water, and drain again. Immediately refrigerate until ready to serve. I cover the broccoli while it is in the refrigerator because broccoli does smell.

Mix the following ingredients together in a bowl with a cover and refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.
     1 1/2 c. sunflower seeds (or pine nuts)
I prefer sunflower seeds to pine nuts for this recipe, and not just because they are cheaper.  I like their taste, crunch, and appearance better. I also prefer raw to roasted-salted but have used both. Check for rancidness, though, especially with raw seeds, before using. I store seeds in the freezer to keep them unrancid longer.
     1 1/2 c. dried currants (or raisins or dried cranberries or
I like currants best, although they weren't in Shayna's version, because they are about the same size as the sunflower seeds and their sweetness is concentrated.  But I've used all the other dried fruits, too, and they're fine. Dried cherries are probably my second favorite, but then I lived in Michigan a long time.
     1/2 large red onion, diced (~ 3/4 c. if you measure)
The red onion turns the dressing pink.  If you don't care about this so much, you can use some other color onion.  I like red, myself.
     1 heaping c. Miracle Whip or mayonnaise
            (1 1/8 c. if you measure)
My husband likes Miracle Whip better so that's all I ever buy.  It also happens to have less fat than either regular OR light mayonnaise.
     3 T. red wine vinegar
(I once used fancy pino gris white wine vinegar and it was lovely.  The red of the vinegar does not affect the pink color of the dressing that much.  That's really from the red onion.)
      1/2 c. sugar
      1-2 T. lemon juice (juice from about 1/3 average lemon)
      Salt (especially if you do not use salted seeds)
      Black Pepper (maybe about 1/4 tsp)

WARNING:  NEVER mix broccoli with dressing until ready to serve. The dressing, because of the acids in the vinegar and lemon juice, bleaches the broccoli to an ugly olive green.  That means that leftovers will look ugly but by then you won't mind because you will know that the salad tastes great.


When ready to serve, dump dressing into large serving bowl and then mix in the broccoli by one cup scoops. The broccoli should be spread evenly through the dressing.  You could put in the broccoli first, or put all the broccoli into the dressing at once, but those both seem to make it take longer to achieve the right appearance.  Sometimes I forget this, and then I learn it again.
This salad looks very pretty and is a very popular item on a buffet table.

The original recipe had proportionally more mayo and sugar, with Shayna's advice to "use less." It also had more onion.  I've  tinkered to suit my taste.

PARVE. VEGETARIAN.  If made with egg-free mayonnaise, VEGAN.

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