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Monday, April 15, 2013

Picnic perfection: Broccoli Crunch

broccoli crunch salad

This stuff looks tailor made for the picnic basket. Red, green, gold and white, four bright colors to compliment the season (interestingly, also four Christmas colors) come together in one delicious dish. It might even be healthy (I doubt it)! At least it gets a few vegetables on the table. Just thinking about it makes me ravenous for it despite having devoured the huge bowl I whipped up for Easter.

Broccoli Crunch Salad

4 cups Broccoli Florets (chopped to bite size)
½ Sweet onion (sliced into very thin wedges)
1 Apple (1/4 inch cubed or thinly sliced)
½ cup Dried cranberries (or your favorite dried fruit)
¾ lb. Bacon (fried crisp and crumbled)
½ cup Cashews (or your favorite nut)
1 cup Mayo
½ tbs Mustard powder
1 tbs Honey
2 tbs Cider vinegar
Black pepper to taste

Blanch or steam your broccoli florets for one minute, just enough time to brighten up and sharpen all those shades of  green. Then drain it and set it aside to cool. It's important to drain the broccoli again after it cools or you'll be pouring your dressing down the sink (I learned that the hard and sad way). 

blanched broccoli

In a bowl, thoroughly combine your mustard powder, vinegar, and honey. Then stir in your mayo, and grind in some black pepper. After the broccoli has cooled and been drained again (hey, it's an easy step to forget), throw all the other ingredients into another much larger bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir it for an even coat. 

the long dressing pour

That's broccoli crunch, people! It's almost too simple. A little chopping, a little stirring and badabing! It's Christmas. In April.

As always omissions and substitutions are encouraged, and with this dish it's easier and less risky to do than with almost anything else we've made. So, forget about the bacon, or go ahead and throw chili glazed pecans in there (recipe to come). It's a kind of a la carte, potpurri, bouquet sort of salad. Or not. Enjoy.

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