I first came across a broccoli salad as a side for possibly the best chicken wings I’ve ever eaten in Mighty Quinn’s East Village incarnation. How it took me 13 months to reproduce I’m not exactly sure, but I did in the end. My attempt came out for a soul food inspired family dinner recently and was a 100% hit with all involved. I’d even say it’s a bit better than the MQ version, but that might just be because there was so much of it- guys that tiny pot isn’t a taster, it’s a tease!
But don’t you cook broccoli and isn’t it gross? Yes and no, we can all cook broccoli but I have always enjoyed the stalks raw to crunch up a salad or smother in blue cheese dip to pretend it’s a healthy crudité. This salad is in a similar style, adorned with a creamy, sharp dressing which compliments the peppery crunch of the broccoli, sexed up further with toasted almonds and cranberries, cos they’re pretty.
I can (and do) just eat an entire bowl of this for lunch but it probably works best as a substantial side with most meats, hot or cold. If you don’t believe me, ask the Mr who is still asking me how I do that thing to make broccoli nice.
Boomboom Broccoli Salad
2 heads broccoli
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/8 cup (awkward) or 6 Tbspns mayonnaise
2tbspn cider vinegar
3/4 tspn sugar
Good pinch of sea salt
1 red onion, very finely diced
75g flaked almonds
100g dried cranberries
Start off by toasting the almonds in a dry, non stick pan until they start to colour then remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
Some 2 hours before serving make the dressing by combining the buttermilk, mayo, vinegar, sugar, salt and onion. Refrigerate to let the mingling flavour magic work.
Closer to dinner time wash the broccoli and pat dry. Please use a fresh, good quality broccoli that is firm and very green. If you can go organic all the better. Slice them down into bite sized bits with a good sharp knife, stir in the cranberries then toss in the dressing. Keep in the fridge until you are ready to eat then scatter the toasted almonds over the top just before serving.
Variations: I’ve found a lot of recipes call for some lemon juice in a buttermilk dressing, I avoid this for allergy reasons in the Mr to be honest I really don’t think it needs it. You could add some bacon bits or cubed gammon if you are a devil; try a crumbling of blue cheese instead of /as well as the cranberries; you can swap in natural or non fat Greek yoghurt if you don’t have buttermilk but add a tablespoon of milk to loosen the consistency if you do. If you want a sweeter finish on the dressing up the mayo to equal quantities to the buttermilk but I have to say I think it works better with plenty of bite.