When the mayonnaise/yogurt broccoli salad swept the country years back, everyone wanted it. It was a treat with lots of interesting ingredients. At this point, however, it has been around so long that it is almost a cliche. If you have tired of the old stuff from the deli, consider this recipe a welcome change.
This recipe does not need mayonnaise to make broccoli shine. Each ingredient is filled with flavor and can stand on its own, even the extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and touch of vinegar. Add a protein to the salad if you choose. Serve the salad as a side or make an entree served with good bread or brown rice pilaf on the side.
The ingredients and amount given below are subject to change depending on what is in the garden, what is in the refrigerator, what just got dropped off by a neighbor. Be flexible and go by your own taste preferences. Do that and you can hardly go wrong.
Broccoli Salad Ingredients
2 bundles broccoli
1 box of mushrooms, washed and sliced
1/2 pound bacon (optional), crisply fried and chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 garden tomatoes, cubed
4 sweet banana peppers, seeds and sliced
1 small red onion, cut into thin rings
1 can black olives, pitted
1 lemon, juiced
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Broccoli Salad Steps
Wash the broccoli. Cut into bite-sized flowers. Peel the stems and slice into rounds.
Blanche the broccoli in boiling water for 2 minutes. This stops oxidation or darkening of the broccoli and causes it to become bright green.
Place a colander in the sink. Drain the blanched broccoli and rinse it with cold water to stop the cooking process. Move the broccoli to a large mixing bowl.
Using the same skillet you used for the bacon, saute half the minced garlic for a few seconds and then add the mushrooms.
Salt to taste and stir frequently for about 2 minutes.
Remove from the flame and pour the mushroom slices over the broccoli.
Sprinkle the tomato cubes with salt and pepper to taste. Toss with a bit of the garlic and allow to rest for a few minutes before adding them to the broccoli mix.
Add just a touch of oil to the pan that the bacon and mushrooms cooked in. Heat the oil and add any garlic that is left along with the pepper slices. Stir. Keep stirring until you begin to smell the peppers releasing their aroma. Add this to the broccoli mix.
Add the onion rings, black olives, and broken up bacon slices.
Drizzle the lemon juice, olive oil, and vinegar over the salad and toss gently. Taste. Add more oil, more vinegar, more salt and pepper.
Make the salad suit you. Often I will top mine with freshly grated Romano cheese instead of adding more salt. You might try small Mozzarella cubes but add them just before serving so they do not get gooey.
This salad is best at room temperature. It is also best on the day it is made. That is not to say we don’t enjoy the leftovers. If you do have some left, bring the salad to room temperature before serving. You will be more satisfied if you take that trouble.