this poor, poor neglected recipe. the first time i read it on the blog 101 cookbooks, i slavered at seeing all these favorite things tossed up together in a way i’ve never seen before. i love shallots. i love fried shallots. i love lemony, garlicky dressings. i love red onion when it’s sliced whisper-thin. and broccoli was the first vegetable i ever permitted into my system. (“little trees” for wee little me.) so once upon a time i made a trip to my special store and bought a golden blonde jar of almond butter and set it in my cupboard with high hopes…
and now more than a year later – when said jar is quivering dangerously close to its expiration date – i have finally finally gotten down to make it. and oh boy, YUM. i usually don’t eat salad unless i’m in a really peculiar mood, but i have been eating this one happily every day since i made it over the weekend. in fact, i ran out to get two new big bunches of broccoli last night, because i’m not ready for this salad to be over. it’s been a great thing to tote to work: full of textures and fun things to nibble and cronch, and inducing none of that droopy-eyed stupor that i find usually follows a delicious meal.
below is the recipe as i made it. i changed nothing in the proportions; i just decided to swap in dried cranberries for the diced apple (for the chewy factor) and polished up the directions to accommodate a cooking-for-one-or-two kind of situation.
i suggest you head over to 101 cookbooks, though, and take a look at the original write-up of the recipe (and the pretty picture). there are candied walnuts, which i omitted for the sake of time – and for fear that all the combined deliciousness might be too much for me to take. (i love candied walnuts.) but i’d like to note now that the fried shallots are not not NOT optional. along with the dressing (and the broccoli itself, i guess) they pretty much make this dish.
Broccoli Crunch Salad
adapted (barely) from this recipe from 101 Cookbooks
4 -5 cups tiny broccoli florets
1 garlic clove
scant ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
¼ cup almond butter
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons hot water
handful of dried cranberries
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup pan-fried crunchy shallots*
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and salt as you would pasta water. Boil the broccoli just long enough to take the raw edge off – about 30 seconds. Drain and immerse it in cold water (or let cold water run over it). Set aside.
Make the dressing by sprinkling the salt over the clove of garlic. Roughly chop the garlic. Smash the clove using the side of your knife, and then chop some more; repeat until the garlic and salt turns into a paste. In a small bowl whisk the salty garlic paste with the almond butter, lemon juice, honey and olive oil. Add the hot water and whisk until light and creamy. Taste, make any adjustments and set aside.
On a plate, place a generous handful of broccoli florets. Sprinkle with dried cranberries, red onion slices, and fried shallots. Spoon some dressing off to the side.
Store any leftover salad components separately.
*Stir together the thinly sliced shallots, a splash of clarified butter (or olive oil) and big pinch of salt in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir every few minutes; you want the shallots to slowly brown over about fifteen minutes. Let them get dark, dark brown (but not burn), and if needed turn down the heat. Remove from skillet and transfer onto a paper towel to cool in a single layer where they will crisp up a bit.