Saturday, August 31, 2013

Broccoli Salad

Today just happens to be International Bacon Day and thought it fitting to post something with bacon.  Today I bring you broccoli salad that won't bust a gut.  I have a little twist on my method of making this salad.  I blanch the broccoli which takes a little bit of the rawness away, and aides in digestion if you know what I mean.  When I eat unblanched broccoli, it makes me double over in writhing gas pains.  I know, too much information, but, I can't be alone on this, some of you out there must have the same problem.  When you blanch the broccoli, there is no way to remove all of the water, but it is still crispy and delicious.  If broccoli doesn't not affect you in this way, you can skip the blanching process.  Also, if you want to save a little time, you can purchase the broccoli florets in the produce section.

Broccoli Salad
1 bunch broccoli
1 lbs. thick cut bacon
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about a cup)
1/2 red onion, diced or slices whatever your preference
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup roasted salted sunflower seeds
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Prepare broccoli by cutting the tops into small florets.  I also use the top part of the stalks.  Fill a large bowl with ice cold water and set aside.  Fill a large sauce pan with water and bring up to a simmer and working in about three batches, blanch broccoli for about 15 seconds or until it turns into a bright deep green.  Immediately with a slotted spoon, remove and put into the ice water to stop the cooking. Remove from the ice water when cooled (at this point, I spin excess water out in a salad spinner),  Place broccoli into a paper towel lined bowl and set aside. 

Chop bacon strips into a large dice and cook in a frying pan on medium heat until browned and crisp.  Remove with a slotted spatula and place onto a paper towel lined dish to absorb excess grease.  Set aside. 

Put the salad together.  First give the broccoli a last squeeze press with a fresh paper towel and remove the other paper towel.  Add the remaining salad ingredients and toss.  Set aside.

In a 2 cup measuring cup, measure one cup of mayonnaise and then add the remaining ingredients and stir until well mixed.

Pour desired amount of dressing over the salad and toss.  If you have remaining dressing, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  As the salad sits, it absorbs the dressing so you can add the reserved dressing as needed.  Refrigerate.

Broccoli before blanching.  Kind of dull green color.

Broccoli after blanching.  Brighter green.

Salad ingredients ready to mix together.

Salad mixed and ready to add the dressing.

Voila!  Broccoli salad!  As the salad sets, it will absorb some of the dressing.  Add any reserved dressing if desired.