Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Old Fashioned Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Pecans

Old fashioned broccoli salad, made with red onion, celery, carrots, raisins, nuts and bacon, and a mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar dressing. Served here on leaves of romaine lettuce.

Old Fashioned Broccoli Salad

This poor ole broccoli salad has been languishing around for me to showcase it on the blog forever. Very patience little green veggie. Truth is, while The Cajun won't even give it a fair run, broccoli is one of my favorite veggies. I love to eat it most just simply steamed to be honest, though I've been known to fry it on occasion too. What can I say?

I adore this salad a lot too though and I can certainly make a meal of it. One thing is for sure - broccoli salad has been a southern potluck and party favorite for as long as I've been around, and it'll be a great addition to your Labor Day cookout too.

Broccoli Salad is most often served with a sweetened, basic mayonnaise and vinegar dressing, but I love, love it with a tangy old fashioned boiled dressing. Never tried that? It is super easy to make, and so delicious I'd be willing to bet you and your guests will find yourselves drawn to it too.

Intended mostly as a dressing for vegetable salads, cabbage slaws and potato salads, it's fairly thick, sort of like a homemade mayonnaise, but can easily be thinned down with a little milk to use on good ole garden salads too. I hope you try it sometime, but I've included the more traditional dressing, just in case you prefer that.

Now a lot of us southerners are guilty of literally drowning our salads like this broccoli salad in mayonnaise dressings, and don't get me wrong, I sure love my mayonnaise. I generally prefer dressings be applied with a bit of a lighter hand for salads like this though, so that the salad is the star and not the dressing. If you use the boiled dressing, make an extra batch and thin it down a bit for the table, because I think you'll find everybody will reach for it.

Many make this salad with purely raw broccoli, but I am not one of them, preferring to blanch the broccoli. Long enough to take away some of that harsh rawness, but not so long as the broccoli loses its natural, beautiful color. It certainly makes it a bit more palatable and just easier to eat. Perfectly good served all on its own, this broccoli salad is also great when served over a bed of shredded lettuce and garnished with a little bit of chopped tomato and bacon. Try it sometime - its just delicious! Here's how to make it.

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Recipe: Old Fashioned Broccoli Salad

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Inactive time: 1 hour | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings


For the Dressing:
  • 3/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning or cayenne pepper, or to taste, optional
For the Salad:
  • 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1 bunch of raw broccoli
  • 1/2 cup of chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup of chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 8 slices of bacon, fried crisp, crumbled and divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

For the dressing, whisk ingredients together until well blended and sugar is dissolved; set aside. Prepare dressing and set aside. Plump the raisins by placing them into a bowl, covering with hot water and letting stand for about 10 minutes. Drain well and set aside. Chop broccoli into florets, discarding the tough stalk ends. Blanch in boiling water for about 1 minute, then plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process; drain well and let cool.

Transfer the broccoli to a large serving or storage bowl, add the onions, celery, carrots, raisins, nuts, and half of the bacon; toss to mix. Pour dressing over the broccoli mixture, add salt and pepper,and gently toss;taste and adjust. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, longer if possible, to let flavors marry. Garnish with remaining cooked bacon and serve.

Cook's Notes: Substitute Old Fashioned Boiled Dressing for the traditional mayonnaise and vinegar dressing. Can also substitute 2 (12 ounce) packages of frozen broccoli florets for the raw. Place in a colander until thawed. Do not blanch. Though sunflower seed meat is traditional (use about 1/4 cup), any other nut will also do, so use your favorite, such as chopped walnuts, chopped pecans or sliced, chopped almonds. I love pecan in this salad. Toss in 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar, if desired right before serving. Substitute dried cranberries for the raisins for a different change. Broccoli salad can be served as a side dish, alone, or on chilled salad plates over shredded lettuce or lettuce leaves, garnishing each serving with the remaining bacon and some sliced cherry tomatoes, if desired. May also add in 2 apples (Gala or Honeycrisp recommended), cored and chopped, right before serving.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on August 31, 2011
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