Monday, May 11, 2009

broccoli slaw

broccoli slaw

I have been craving broccoli something fierce lately. Yes, broccoli as in helloooo, need iron much? Because I am apparently that predictable of a pregnant woman. Not that this bothers me, I’m actually relieved to be craving something, anything but grapes for five minutes. Why I can’t be a normal pregnant woman, mainlining ice cream sundaes and pickles and peanut butter simultaneously, I don’t know, but if grapes and broccoli must be my (terrifically boring) torch to bear, so be it.

thinly sliced broccolitoasted almondsdried cranberriesred onion

Alex has a cousin that sometimes graces family gatherings a slaw-style broccoli salad I adore, with chunks of raw broccoli and dried cranberries and some toasted pine nuts or almonds, in a mayo-based dressing. Alex and I don’t agree on this — he of the oh so very difficult vegetables and sweet things cannot be paired persuasion and me of the can’t hear you, too busy cronch-cronch-cronching — thus I’d yet to give it a spin at home. Yet last week I saw a link from Apartment Therapy’s Kitchen in which they’d made a broccoli slaw very close to the one I like where a commenter suggested people try it with my favorite Buttermilk Dressing instead. I love it when other people give me better ideas of what to do with my own favorite recipes.* Almost as much as I love that dressing.

buttermillk dressing with shallotsbroccoli slaw

Thus the combination of a fierce broccoli craving, an overdue broccoli slaw and the notion of having any excuse to make an extra batch of that dressing was all too much for me to bear, and you’ve never seen someone so eagerly lunge at the raw broccoli before noon on a Monday. Seriously, there was a gaggle of kids standing in the way and I was practically tapping my feet waiting for them to move on, gah, why must kids be so slow? Mama needs her broccoli! And now you can’t say you weren’t warned about what a weirdo pregnancy turns you into.

broccoli slaw

* I should totally do a series of posts about recipes I’ve updated with reader suggestions that made them so much better. Remind me! I’m forgetful these days. For example, yesterday morning, I tore apart the bed and my nightstand looking for my iPhone and still couldn’t find it. Small issue: I was speaking to my mother on it while I was digging around. I fear this might be a sign of things to come.

Slaw, previously: As I am sure a couple people have picked up, I’m a little slaw-crazy, thus if broccoli slaw isn’t your bag (and heh, when has broccoli ever won a popularity contest?) here are a few other places you might want to start: Not Your Mama’s Coleslaw, Dead Simple Slaw, Green Onion Slaw, Tangy Indian Cabbage Salad and then, as if this wasn’t enough, four more slaw recipes (Blue Cheese Slaw, Napa Cabbage Slaw, Radicchio Slaw and Pickled Coleslaw) in an article I did for NPR a couple years ago. Happy crunching!

Two years ago: Raspberry Topped Lemon Muffin

Broccoli Slaw
Adapted a little bit from family, a little bit from Apartment Therapy

If you have a raw onion aversion, you might enjoy using these pickled red onions instead, then chopped small. You can also pickle shallots with the same method.

Makes about six cups of slaw

2 heads of broccoli
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

Buttermilk Dressing (Adapted from this salad.)
1/2 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
1/3 cup mayonnaise (this is more than is in the original, to thicken the dressing further)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (or, you could just use a little extra red onion to simplify it)

Trim broccoli and cut it into large chunks. From here, you can either feed it through your food processor’s slicing blade, use a mandoline to cut it into thin slices, or simply had chop it into smaller pieces. I used the stem and the flowerets, but if you have a broccoli stem aversion you can just use the tops. (P.S. My favorite way to prep the stems is to peel them — the tough skin is why most people think they don’t like broccoli stems; the broccoli underneath is juicy and crisp — then use the mandoline or a knife to cut them into thin slices.)

Toss the sliced broccoli with the almonds, cranberries and red onion in a large bowl. Meanwhile, whisk the dressing ingredients in a smaller one, with a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the broccoli (if you’ve skipped the stems, you might not want it all; I otherwise found this to be the perfect amount) and toss it well. Season well with salt and pepper to taste.

Should keep up to a week in the fridge, if you don’t have any pregnant women nearby.

Variation: I bet this slaw would be equally good with cauliflower. I might use dried currants instead of cranberries, walnuts instead of almonds and maybe even some celery slices thrown in. Have fun with it.


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