(Originally published, Nov-2016, then updated by Tania, September-2018)
I’m not sure where the original recipe for this super tasty salad came from, but I’ve changed all the measures and added eggs and toasted the almonds and changed this and that…as you do!
At work, I’ve made scores of it over the years and the salad bowl was always empty long before all of the other salads I’d made. I mean you can never go wrong with a delicious Broc salad, right?
So, this Broccoli Salad is made up of broccoli florets (quickly blanched, turning them a vibrant green), crispy bacon, boiled eggs, toasted almonds (nom nom nom), red onion, raw peas (keeping it green) and a tiny bit of spice and some colour added via a fresh red chilli pepper.
You could be tricked into thinking it was pretty healthy until you see that it’s dressed in a honey mustard, mayonnaise with added cider vinegar, which gives the whole salad a unique flavour.
It seems that when I’m discussing Broccoli Salad with someone, they are usually dead set on whether they prefer their broccoli blanched or raw. I haven’t yet heard anyone say they don’t mind either….it seems to be one of those things that you either do or you don’t…no inbetweenies! I prefer mine blanched, it’s still got a nice crunch, but I think it tastes better. Blanching the broccoli also makes its colour more intense, turning it a vibrant green, just gorgeous, not only to eat but to look at.
However, even though I prefer it blanched in salads or as a side, raw broccoli along with cauliflower contain excellent cancer-fighting properties. So enjoying a raw salad or veggie platter with some delicious hummus on a regular basis is a must. If you are new to cooking, the longer you cook broccoli the more its nutritional value will be lost, so always make sure it’s blanched quickly and been cooled quickly so it retains as much goodness as possible.
1 cup / 200 g mayonnaise
1 ½ tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
1 ½ tablespoons runny honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
¾ cup / 100 g fresh or frozen peas
5 medium-sized broccoli (or 4 small or 2 enormous!)
5 medium-sized eggs
6 pieces streaky bacon (or 4 pieces of larger middle or shoulder bacon)
¼ cup / 25 g sliced almonds
½ medium-sized red onion (or 1 small)
1 red chilli pepper (or ¼ teaspoon chilli flakes)
Serves 8 (sides) or 6 (large)
- If you are crunched for time on the day you want to make this salad you can make the mayo a day or two, even a week, before and leave it in the fridge, ready to fold through the salad on the day. Also, the night before you can cut up the broccoli (best not to cook it the day before though), cook the eggs and bacon, and toast the almonds. 🙂
- Chillies – The chillies I buy from my supermarket are very mild, so I can get away with putting a whole chilli in my broccoli salad. If yours are from your garden or a farmer’s market it might pay to add half only (you can always add the other half later if you think it’s too mild).
- Also, if you want to totally omit the chilli, of course, you can! Just so that the salad still has a bit of colour to it deseed and finely dice half of a red capsicum and add that in place of the chilli.
- Vegetarians…it’s still delish without the bacon!
- This recipe uses quite a lot of mayo. I love a really good quality whole egg mayo, but as this recipe uses so much, I use a slightly cheaper variety. With the other added ingredients, it still tastes great.
- If you only have solid honey in the pantry no need to buy any more, just warm it in the microwave or a saucepan until it’s runny.
- Please try not to use a different vinegar in this dressing as it’s the cider vinegar that makes this salad taste delicious! However, if you have to white wine vinegar is a good substitute.
- One more thing…omitting the eggs is no biggie. I prefer them, but if you’d prefer to keep it green, leave them out.
STEP BY STEP
Getting started, if the peas are fresh, shell them and set them aside or retrieve the frozen ones from the freezer and place them in a bowl to defrost. You’ll be adding them to the salad raw…so yummy!
Best to make the mayonnaise first to get it out of the way. Add all the mayonnaise ingredients to a bowl and whisk together until smooth. Cover it and place in the fridge to use later.
To begin on the salad, cut the broccoli into bite-size pieces. Just the right size to fit into your mouth, not too big, not too small.
Next, fill a large saucepan with water, enough that it will more than cover the broccoli and the broccoli isn’t too cramped.
Place the saucepan over a high heat and bring it to the boil.
Once boiling, add the broccoli and blanch it for two minutes.
While you are waiting, place a colander or sieve into the sink, ready to strain the broccoli when it’s done.
Once the broccoli is blanched, pour it into the colander and…
…..once all of the water has drained, spread the broccoli out onto a clean tea towel and leave it there to cool down.
- The tea towel method helps it to dry out more. If it goes into the salad wet (even a small amount) it will mix with the mayonnaise and make it runny, running to the bottom of the salad bowl rather than coating the broccoli.
- Spreading it out will help it cool down quicker and stop it from cooking further. If you leave it in the colander/sieve, the outer pieces will cool down but the centre ones will stay hot and will keep on cooking. So, to keep them crunchy, best to cool the florets down quickly.
- Try not to be tempted to run cold water over it. This can waterlog the broccoli and cause it to break up.
Fill a saucepan with enough water to cover the eggs. Without putting them in yet, place it over a high heat and bring it to the boil.
Once boiling, use a spoon to lower them in, leaving them to boil for nine minutes.
Once done, pour the hot water out and cover them with cold water until they have cooled right down.
Next, peel them and slice them in half length-ways and then each half into thirds, length-ways, creating six little wedges from each egg. Leave them aside for now.
Under a medium grill (broiler) cook the streaky bacon until it’s crisp and then slice it into 2 cm strips. (If using middle or shoulder bacon, cut or pull off the rind and roughly chop it into 2 cm pieces.)
I toast the almonds to bring out their nutty flavour and to help them stay crunchy in a wet salad. So place an oven rack in the centre of the oven and turn it to 160°C fan/convection oven or 180°C conventional oven, on bake.
Spread the almonds on a baking tray and once the oven is up to ‘temp’ pop them in for 3 minutes. Take them out, toss them around and place them back in for a further 3 minutes or until they are around two shades darker than raw.
You can just leave them on top of the oven to cool down for now.
Next, peel and finely dice the red onion, setting it aside also.
Remove the stalk and slice the chilli in half length-ways. Run a sharp knife along the insides to remove the seeds, slice it into thin strips and then very finely dice it.
- Of course, if you like spicy things you can leave the seeds in, but think of your guests. You don’t want them to spontaneously combust!
That’s all of ‘prep’ done!
In a large bowl, place the peas, broccoli, bacon, red onion, chilli and mayonnaise. (If the peas are still frozen, place them in a sieve and run cold water through them, making sure they are well strained before adding them to the bowl).
- Depending on the size of your broccoli you may not need the full amount of mayo. You can add ¾ here and then once mixed, add the rest if you think you need it. If not, it will store in the fridge for weeks and you can use it as you would normal mayo.
Using a very large spoon (so as not to break up the broccoli) fold it all together.
- Yes, I know the eggs and the almonds are missing…I don’t add the eggs here as they will break up when you are mixing it all together and I prefer to scatter the almonds over the top or they just kinda get lost…and I also think it looks prettier. 🙂
So, lay half of the dressed salad onto a platter.
Place half of the egg wedges here and there.
Next, sprinkle on half of the sliced almonds.
Place the remainder of the salad on. Lay the rest of the egg wedges over and lastly scatter over the rest of the almonds.
There you have it…..an absolutely GORGEOUS Broccoli Salad. 🙂
Great on its own or as a side salad, served with…..well anything you like!
Keepin’ it fresh – Keep it covered in the fridge for up to 2 days, but I have to say that this salad is best eaten on the day as the broccoli loses its colour.