Broccoli Salad With Cheddar and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
Broccoli salads are a dime a dozen, but this one, which is adapted from Ashley Christensen's cookbook, "Poole's: Recipes From a Modern Diner," is a game-changing celebration of flavors, colors and textures: broccoli, toasted pecans and red grapes are cloaked in a warm bacon-scallion vinaigrette, then sprinkled with small chunks of sharp white Cheddar. Ms. Christensen's recipe, which uses the florets as well as the stalks, asks you to blanch the broccoli (cooking it for a few minutes in generously salted boiling water, then shocking it with salted iced water). It takes a little extra time, but the crisp-tender, bright green broccoli, seasoned inside and out, is your just reward. Try not to eat the entire bowl yourself.
- Serves: 6 persons
- Kosher salt
- 1bunch broccoli (about 1 1/4 pounds), ends trimmed
- ½cup pecan halves
- 4ounces bacon, diced
- 3tablespoons olive oil
- 2teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4green onions, white and light green parts only, chopped
- Black pepper
- 1cup halved red seedless grapes
- 4ounces aged white cheddar, sliced thin and crumbled
Step 1Bring a large pot of generously salted (use about 1/2 cup kosher salt) water to a boil. Set up an ice bath next to the stove and generously salt (about 1/4 cup kosher salt) that water as well.
Step 2Cut the broccoli stems from the heads; slice the florets into small pieces, each about 1-inch long. Peel the stems with a peeler and cut each stem in half lengthwise, then slice into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons. Add broccoli to the boiling water and blanch for 30 seconds; transfer to the ice water to shock the broccoli and stop the cooking. Drain broccoli in a colander, then set aside (still in the colander) to drain completely.
Step 3In a large dry skillet, toast pecans over medium heat until they smell nutty, about 1 minute; remove pecans and set aside. Return skillet to medium heat and add bacon and oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon has rendered its fat and is crispy, about 10 minutes. Turn heat to low and whisk in mustard and vinegar. Add green onions and pecans and season generously with black pepper.
Step 4In a large bowl, combine broccoli and grapes. Pour the contents of the skillet into the bowl and toss to combine; season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the cheddar and toss right before serving.