Thursday, March 26, 2009

Please Pass the Broccoli

Jules is not a veggie man. That's okay, I love him anyway. Slowly, I'm converting him over to my wiley vegetable ingesting happiness. He even caught himself off guard the other night at dinner when he asked "Please pass the broccoli." The request was quickly followed by, "I never thought I'd say that." With Jules vote of approval broccoli slaw has become a family favorite around our household, but unfortunately one thing the Spicy Barracuda won't touch. He'll eat asparagus, but not broccoli slaw! Sometimes this kid is crazy. A food processor is a great help at getting the broccoli in little bits without covering your counter in broccoli dust, but it isn't essential by any means. Mainly, the broccoli is just chopped all up so that it is fluffy and not an overly blocky, crunchy mass on the plate.

Broccoli Slaw

1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 slices of uncooked bacon, bacon fat, anything bacon-like
5-6 small crowns of broccoli
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup of vinegar or lime juice
3/4 cup of yogurt (any desired flavor, we use peach)
1/2 cup of mayonnaise

I always make the dressing first and let it sit a bit before I mix the salad all together. ("A bit" is sometimes just as long as it takes me to do the other things, and sometimes earlier in the day when I have a minute.) In a cereal bowl, start with the brown sugar and stir in the vinegar/lime juice until the brown sugar is melted and smooth. Next mix in the yogurt with a whisk, lastly whisking in the mayo. The dressing will be runny, sweet and slightly tangy. If it is too sweet or too tangy, add a bit more mayo to balance it out. If too bland or thick add a bit more sugar or vinegar (respectively). Unfortunately like any salad dressing, this isn't an exact science. We have figured out what our family likes, but it is so personal. Give it a try, and be willing to perfect it on the second attempt because this salad is one that is hard to go wrong with.

When the dressing is all mixed up, I cut the bacon and the fat into small bits and fry it up in a saute pan on medium high heat. A minute of two later I dump in the onions. Stirring, them together so the bacon fat coats the onions and distributes the taste. When the bacon starts to brown, I turn down the burner to medium heat and let them simmer a bit.

While the bacon and onions are simmering, cut the crowns of broccoli into bits your food processor can manage. You can use stems and all. Pulse in rapid succession about three times till the broccoli is ground up, but not completely pulverized. The point is to have crisp broccoli bites, so if the broccoli is too fine it becomes soggy with sauce; if it is too large, it is in crunchy chunks and the flavors don't meld. Place all the processed broccoli in a large bowl.

Mix the Parmesan cheese in with the broccoli until it is thoroughly incorporated. Add the bacon and onions from the stove along with any drippings and mix thoroughly again. Lastly, thoroughly mix in the dressing.

You can now either eat it right away, or set it in the fridge to be eatten later. This is a great picnic salad, summer munching fare, or quick side dish. What I really like about it (other than getting Jules to admit he wants more broccoli) is that the cost is incredibly cheap. By using bacon bits and pieces, one of the smaller onions in the bag, some cheapo grated Parmesean cheese, and odds and ends from the fridge for dressing, you create a really tasty quick side dish. Those are the favorite in our household.

0 thoughts:

Post a Comment