Tuesday, March 22, 2016

ChezCindy: Broccoli Salad - Updated

Old-style broccoli salad is a favorite from years gone by.  You may know this salad as having raisins, lots of crisp bacon, mayonnaise, and just a bit sugar that tastes so good; just the right balance of salty from the bacon and sweetness from the sugar.  My recipe updates this family favorite by using chopped raw kale, dried cranberries, fresh grapes, and of course, fresh broccoli.  However, I don't like the tough texture of raw broccoli, so I do a quick blanch just until it begins to soften.  If you're okay with raw broccoli, skip this step.  I've also cut back on the amount of bacon, just using enough to appreciate the smoky flavor it lends.
Make this for your next family gathering or eat the whole recipe yourself as you binge-watch a favorite show.  No need to feel guilty - broccoli is 30 only calories per cup!

Broccoli Kale Salad
4 cups broccoli florets
3 cups kale leaves, chopped
1 cup red or black seedless grapes
2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
2 tablespoons chopped cooked bacon
1/3 cup toasted unsalted sunflower seeds
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon oil

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper

Begin by blanching the broccoli in the microwave.  To do this, place 2 tablespoons of water into a large microwave safe bowl.  Add the broccoli florets to the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 1 minute.  The bowl will be hot, so using hot pads, remove the bowl form the microwave and set aside for 1 minute.  Using a large slotted spoon, remove the broccoli from the bowl, spreading it onto a sheet tray lined with paper towels to stop from cooking further.  The broccoli should just lose some of the rawness and not be fully cooked.  This cooking step can be eliminated if you prefer raw broccoli.
Remove the kale leaves from the tough stems; chop the leaves into small strips and place in a large bowl.  Drizzle the tablespoon of oil over the kale leaves, sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt.  Massage the oil into the kale leaves until the leaves are dark green and softened, about 2 -3 minutes.
Add the cooled broccoli to the kale leaves.  Cut the grapes in half and add to the bowl.  Add the diced red onion, chopped cooked bacon, sunflower seeds and cranberries; mix to combine.
In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.  Pour the dressing over the broccoli kale salad; gently toss to evenly coat.  Adjust the salt and pepper to your taste.  Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.