Friday, June 20, 2008

Chopping broccoli!

A morning off leads to broccoli salad! To explain... Hanes is testing summer hours so in exchange for 4, 10-hour days we have Fridays off through August 15th. Another reason to love Summer! Any way, having to get up at 5:30AM every day this week meant sleeping in this morning wasn't going to happen so I was wide awake for the early-morning gardening shows that run on UNC-ED TV. And, that's where I saw this recipe for broccoli salad I just had to try. It's yummy! One tip though, do not use all of the dressing the recipe calls for because if I had, my salad would have looked more like soup. Also, I recommend going to the extra effort of baking the bacon. I bought good center-cut bacon from the butcher and baked it on a cookie sheet with a rack on it at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then I put it under the broiler to crisp it up for another 5 minutes on each side. I also blanched the broccoli for 5 minutes and then put it into a big bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. This made my broccoli a bit more tender and deepened its beautiful green color. This salad was the perfect side for dinner tonight! Recipe follows... 
And what was dinner? Well, I marinated filets in a splash of red wine and soy all day then rubbed them with olive oil and John Pisto's Monterey seasoning, sea salt and cracked black pepper. To go with them and my fabulous new broccoli salad I grilled boiled red and white potatoes and a beautiful vidalia onion. Of course, I cored the onion and stuffed it with unsalted butter and a beef bullion cube - it's like eating French onion soup candy. Desert was strawberries with creme fraiche - Fantastic!
1 head fresh broccoli cut into bite-size pieces
(I blanched the broccoli whole)
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup red onion chopped
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sunflower seeds
10 slices bacon

Place bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Crumble and set aside (I baked my bacon on a rack and drained it on a paper towel to remove as much fat as possible)
In a salad bowl, toss together broccoli, raisins and red onion. In a separate bowl, whisk together white wine vinegar, sugar and mayonnaise and pour over broccoli mixture (I chilled my dressing all day to allow flavors to blend and did not use all of it - I used only enough dressing to coat the broccoli lightly) 
Refrigerate salad for two hours
Before serving sprinkle salad with sunflower seeds and crumbled bacon - Toss and serve!

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