Sunday, June 17, 2012

"Broccoli and Friends" Salad

This salad has many names -- most of them lame.  You can find it behind the deli at most grocery stores in one form or another, and it's often called something like "Broccoli Salad."  At really adventurous places, you might see "Broccoli Grape Salad."  Names like that convey and ingredient or two, but they don't capture how tasty this little salad actually is.

Leave it to Kristin's family to come up with a better name.  I had only ever had the supermarket version of this salad a few times before, so I didn't know what was going on or what I should be excited about when I heard Kristin's older sister exclaim "Broccoli and Friends!"  I've become good friends with "Broccoli and Friends" since -- it's a quick, easy, flavorful side that pairs with almost anything, especially in the summer.

Just a few ingredients for this one.  The role of "Broccoli" will be played by broccoli.  The role of "Friends" will be played by red onion, bacon, sliced or slivered almonds, grades, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

First, toast up the almonds in a skillet with just a dash of salt.  Don't get them too dark, you just want plenty of crunch.  If you don't have almonds on hand, pine nuts or sunflower seeds could fill in nicely.

While the almonds are toasting, chop the broccoli into florettes, halve the grapes, and finely dice the red onion.  Combine the broccoli, grapes, onion, and toasted almonds in a large bowl and give them a good mix.

Mmm, bacon.  Chop up and fry the bacon to your desired level of crispyness.  I like it fairly soft for this recipe, but I could see the appeal in another source of crispy crunch, too.  Try both ways for science!

Mix the bacon into the rest of the ingredients.

Finally, whisk together the mayonnaise and lemon juice, then season with a dash of salt and a good amount of cracked black pepper.  Pour it over the bowl and stir well to make sure everything is coated.

If you're in a hurry, you can serve the salad right away.  It's better if it can sit in the fridge for at least an hour or two, though - it's best nice and cold, and the flavors like a little bit of time to meld.  Either way you do it, offer hearty portions and enjoy!

Recipe: Broccoli and Friends
Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 10 Minutes | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 8-10

  • 2-3 pounds Broccoli
  • 1/2 pound Bacon
  • 2 cups Grapes
  • 1 cup Slivered Almonds
  • 1 medium Red Onion
  • 1 1/2 cups Mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup Lemon Juice
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Toast almonds with a pinch of salt until crisp and golden brown.
  2. Chop broccoli into florettes, dice red onion, and halve grapes.  Mix together with almonds in a large bowl.
  3. Chop bacon into small pieces and saute until desired level of crispyness.  Mix bacon into large bowl.
  4. Whisk together mayonnaise and lemon juice in a small bowl.  Add a dash of salt and plenty of black pepper to taste.
  5. Pour mayonnaise mixture into large bowl and stir well to coat all ingredients.
  6. Refrigerate 1-2 hours before serving.

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