Hey, What’s Cookin’?
We’ve all enjoyed broccoli salad before, but it is almost always a cold salad made with mayonnaise and appears mostly at summer barbeques. Today’s broccoli salad is dressed with a warm bacon vinaigrette and is perfect for the return of today’s New England snows.
Broccoli Salad with Warm Vinaigrette
Adapted from: a recipe from the NYT
Serves: 4-6 as a side dish
- 1/4 cup Kosher salt
- 1 bunch broccoli (about 1- 1/4 pounds)
- 1/2 cup pecan halves or pieces (pieces are cheaper!)
- 4 ounces uncured, nitrate-free bacon, diced
- 1 tbs Dijon mustard
- 2 tbs red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 4 green onions, white and light green parts only, sliced
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup halved red seedless grapes
- 4 ounces aged, reduced fat cheddar cheese in bar form, thinly sliced & crumbled. Cabot is a good brand. Do not use bagged, pre-shredded cheddar!
- Bring a large pot of water with the kosher salt to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water and place it next to the stove.
- Cut the broccoli stems from the heads; slice the florets into small, bite-size pieces, each about 1-inch long. Peel the stems with a peeler and cut each stem in half lengthwise.
- Add half the broccoli to the boiling water and blanch for 30 seconds; scoop it out with a slotted spoon into the ice bath to immediately stop the cooking. Let the hot water come back to a boil & repeat with the remaining broccoli. When all the broccoli is blanched and cooled in the ice bath, pour it into a colander placed in the sink. Shake the colander vigorously to remove as much water as possible, then set aside the broccoli (still in the colander) to drain completely.
- Meanwhile, in a large dry nonstick skillet, toast pecans over medium heat until they smell nutty, about 1 minute. Remove pecans and set aside.
- Return skillet to medium heat and add bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon has rendered its fat and is crispy, about 10 minutes.
- Pour out the bacon fat into a small heatproof glass container. Measure 2 tbs bacon fat back into the skillet. If you have less than 2 tbs, make up the difference with olive oil
- Turn heat to low and whisk the mustard and vinegar into the bacon and bacon fat. Add green onions and pecans and season generously with black pepper.
- In a large bowl, combine broccoli and grapes. Pour the contents of the skillet into the bowl and toss to combine; season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle in the crumbled cheddar and toss just before serving.
- Pre-shredded cheddar has not been aged enough to use in this recipe. Aging cheese dries it out and makes it harder to melt, and you do not want the cheddar to melt in this salad; rather, you want solid chunks.
- Want to turn this salad into a quick and simple meal? Add chunks of rotisserie chicken–it’s already perfectly cooked and seasoned!
Photograph via J Wilson, nyt