The Lexingtonienne

August23rd

10 Comments

Throughout our relationship, Mike and I have bonded over many things. We both like to cook. We of course love to eat. And, well, I guess those are pretty much the broad strokes.

broccoli salad

We’ve always been really big peanut fans. Several years ago, there was a farmer’s market every Tuesday right next to Mike’s office, and they used to sell roasted peanuts in the shell. They were easily the best I have ever had, and we’d buy at least a couple of bags every week.

broccoli

broccoli

After Mike no longer worked there, we didn’t get the peanuts anymore, but we always kept some kind of peanuts in the house. You know, for emergency snacking. And we liked all things peanut and peanut butter, which probably goes without saying. Reese Cups. Kung Pao Chicken. Snickers. Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews.

broccoli salad dressing

That is, until, Mike went to the allergist, who regretfully informed him that he was allergic to peanuts.

broccoli salad dressing

broccoli salad dressing

This was disappointing to Mike for obvious reasons, and I was bummed about it as well. I used to make a really great chocolate peanut butter pie. And a peanut butter banana cream pie. And this really fabulous broccoli peanut salad. But gone were our peanut days. I tried not to dwell on the fact that I might have to retire these favorite recipes to the recipe graveyard along with Mama’s hot dog pie that nobody liked. Too sad to think about.

bacon

bacon

Broccoli peanut salad was one dish I particularly missed. It’s salty, sweet, sour, smoky, savory, chewy, and crunchy all at once — an entire orchestra of flavors and textures. It’s simple to make, and since it has broccoli in it, it’s not the worst thing you can eat.

broccoli

I knew I could substitute cashews for the peanuts, but I didn’t want to. I don’t think cashews have quite the crunch that peanuts have. So for a long time, broccoli salad sat on life support, unable to be revived yet refusing to accept a toe tag.

broccoli salad

broccoli salad

Unwilling to listen to the slow beep of its own heart monitor any longer, broccoli salad determined to raise itself like a phoenix from the ashes. We were going to the Hollywood Bowl for the Tchaikovsky Fireworks Spectacular, and broccoli salad really wanted to be in our picnic basket. I went to Whole Foods to explore the options, telling myself that — if nothing else — cashews would do. And that’s when I came upon… Marcona almonds. Of course. The smaller, rounder almonds from Spain (not California, like the regular almonds) that don’t have skins and that pack a very gratifying crunch.

broccoli salad

Don’t tell this to anyone in the Peanut Gallery, but Marcona almonds actually work better for broccoli salad than peanuts do. And they sound fancier too. The Tchaikovsky Fireworks Spectacular was spectacular indeed, and so was the broccoli salad.

broccoli salad

Welcome back, broccoli salad. You’re looking well these days.

BROCCOLI SALAD SPECTACULAR
4 medium-large broccoli crowns
7 strips of thick-cut bacon, cooked until crisp, then crumbled
1/2 C salted Marcona almonds (you can substitute salted peanuts, cashews, or other nuts… if you must)
1/2 C raisins

For the dressing:
1 C mayonnaise
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
2 T sugar

Cut broccoli into small, bite-size florets with very little stalk. Rinse thoroughly, then dry completely. (I used a salad spinner, then laid the broccoli pieces out on paper towels to make sure they were totally dry.) While the broccoli dries, whisk mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar in a small bowl until smooth. In a large bowl, toss together broccoli, bacon crumbles, nuts, and raisins. Pour in dressing and mix thoroughly. This salad is best the day it is made.

Have a great week!

Hannah

10 Comments

  • Comment by Amy — August 23, 2010 @ 12:25 pm

    I normally dislike mayonnaise and particularly mayo mixed in salads (I know, SO not southern of me), but your photos make things that don’t appeal to me normally look so appetizing. (I bet it was the bacon. After you see bacon, anything looks tasty!)

    We should eat more broccoli anyway, maybe I’ll try this out next weekend sometime.

  • Comment by erin — August 23, 2010 @ 9:35 pm

    Do you think those Marcona Almonds, which did a better job than the peanuts in the salad, could also perform as well in that chocolate peanut butter pie? Mmmmmmmmmm.

  • Comment by Shae — August 24, 2010 @ 5:55 am

    If anyone wants the recipe for hotdog pie, just let me know…

  • Comment by bonnie martin — September 2, 2010 @ 3:44 pm

    Can I substitue something for the raisins? I am not a raisin fan.

  • Comment by Hannilou — September 2, 2010 @ 4:18 pm

    Definitely! I would recommend dried cranberries. But for what it’s worth, I’m not a raisin fan either – at all – but I do like them in this salad.

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