Culinate

Broccoli Slaw

From the book The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by
Yield 8 cups (serving several people or 2 pregnant ones)

Introduction

My husband’s cousin makes a fantastic broccoli salad. I can never remember exactly what’s in it, but I have a vague recollection of uncooked broccoli, creamy dressing, and dried cranberries. I pretty much eat the whole thing whenever she brings it over for a holiday meal. On a table piled with crêpes and caviar, potato pastries, mushroom salads, pickles, olives, garlicky roasted red peppers, smoked fish, black bread — and did I mention the caviar? — you can imagine why the broccoli doesn’t get the love it deserves. But I never ignore it. In fact, now that I think about it, she probably makes it just for me. I married well.

When I tried to re-create it a couple of years ago, I cut the broccoli into matchsticks and thin slices. I made a ranch-ish dressing with buttermilk and apple-cider vinegar. I toasted almonds. I chopped cranberries. I soaked onions in the dressing. And then I stood in the kitchen and ate nearly the entire bowl, the entire 2 pounds of broccoli salad. Sure, I was five months pregnant at the time. Apparently, pregnant women need their iron. I made fun of my broccoli habit on my website. And then, more than two years later, I decided to include the salad in this book, and when I went to retest it, the same thing happened. I inhaled it. I couldn’t have been less pregnant at the time (though the result of the first pregnancy was sitting on the floor chomping adorably on a raw floret), which led me to the conclusion that this salad might just be good.

Ingredients

2 heads broccoli (¾ to 1 pound, or 340 to 455 grams each)
½ cup (45 grams) thinly sliced almonds, toasted
cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
½ cup (120 milliliters) buttermilk, well shaken
½ cup (105 grams) mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. (30 milliliters) cider vinegar
1 tsp. granulated sugar
½ tsp. table salt
½ small red onion, finely chopped
~ Lots of freshly ground black pepper

Steps

  1. Trim the broccoli and chop it into large chunks, then cut each chunk into thin slices. (I usually cut the stems into thin slices, then stack the slices and cut them in the other direction, into thin matchsticks; if you have a mandoline with a julienne blade, this will also do the job.) Then cut the florets vertically into thin slices, slicing from the stem up to the floret top. This helps them stay together, but keeps them lying nicely against each other in the salad.
  2. Toss the sliced broccoli with the almonds and the cranberries.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, mayo, vinegar, sugar, and salt until smooth. Stir in the onion. You can let the onion marinate in the dressing for 10 minutes, to mellow it.
  4. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture, and add a generous amount of black pepper. Stir the salad until the broccoli is evenly coated with the dressing.
  5. Serve immediately, or keep covered in the fridge for 2 to 3 days; really, though, it’s never lasted that long around here.

Notes

Culinate editor’s note: If you’re not a fan of raw broccoli, try cutting the fresh broccoli into small florets and chunks, then steaming it very lightly, just until bright green but still crisp and crunchy. Toss with the rest of the salad ingredients and serve warm, or chill and serve cold.

This content is from the book The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman.