Sunday, 2 June 2013

Broccoli Salad

You've all had this at a party, maybe you make it at home, but it's one of those things that gets varied a lot. Some of the time it's just because of what you have on hand. I'm going to give you the proportions, that I think are PERFECT, while showing just how varied the ingredients can be. Of course, after you've made it this way, you add more or less sugar etc. But for a first timer, follow this to get a feel for it.

First make the dressing. This is sweet, creamy, and vinegary. It's especially interesting because I'm a weirdo who dislikes sweet, but I have discovered over the years that if the sweetness is offset with certain things (in this case vinegar) then I find it pleasing. I wish a food chemist could explain this, but as yet.......

So, you need:

1 cup mayo (olive oil based is best)
1/2 cup sugar*
2 tablespoons vinegar*

It's important that the sugar dissolves fully, so stir well and prepare ahead of time.

Then you need:

2 heads fresh broccoli cut up very small
1 red onion, finely diced*
1/2 pound bacon cooked until crisp, cooled and crumbled*
3/4 cup raisins*
3/4 cup nuts, chopped small*

The Variations:

Instead of red onion you can use green onion or shallots, but red onion is best.

You can use walnuts, pecans or almonds, or to avoid nuts many people substitute sunflower seeds, it is VERY good, and this is a good choice for catering, when you don't know about guest allergies.

I have used dried cranberries instead of raisins, and it's very good.

In addition, a vegetarian can omit the bacon, and this will also cut down on fat/calories. I have also used chopped salami when out of bacon. Very different but still good.

You can use white or brown sugar, it will change the flavour a bit, obviously. Try white first.

I have used several different vinegars, plain white, malt, white wine, red wine, rice, cider, and even raspberry. All good, all slightly different, but try white first as it's the simplest.

So, mix all that together with the dressing in a bowl.

Make this at least a few hours ahead for the flavours to meld.

Questions? Here or on FB, as you wish.

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