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broccoli salad

In Sonoma CA there is a market that makes a wonderful broccoli salad. I can identify pine nuts, raisins (actually, more likely currants but I can't get them where I live and will make do with raisins), red onion and something or things I can't pin down that gives it a great zest. I think there is some mayo bit it's not overly gooey. Where I live (in southern Baja) it is now too hot for any more greens but I can still get broccoli. Any and all suggestions greatly appreciated.

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  1. Most broccoli salads I've had contain crumbled bacon which adds a smokey/salty flavor in contrast to the sweet raisins or currants. Could that be the ingredient you're trying to identify?

    1. my sister in law made a broccoli salad. i forgot most of the ingredients, but remember her telling me that she used "craisins" not raisins and the broccoli was chopped.

      1. This is very tasty.
        (My notes are at the end of the recipe.)

        Broccoli, Grape and Bacon Salad with Creamy Citrus Dressing

        SALAD
        12 slices 'thick-sliced' bacon
        2/3 cup slivered almonds
        2 heads very fresh broccoli, florets only -- cut bite-size
        1 cup chopped celery
        2/3 cup chopped green onions
        1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes
        1 1/2 cups seedless green grapes
        3/4 cup golden raisins
        CREAMY CITRUS DRESSING
        1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
        1 1/2 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
        2/3 cup sugar
        1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice -- (or to taste)
        1/4 teaspoon salt -- (or to taste)
        3 drops orange oil -- (optional)

        Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a cookie sheet with sides, bake bacon until lightly crisp, about 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels; chop in 1/2-inch pieces when cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, and roast almonds until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes; set aside to cool.

        Assembling The Salad:
        Can assemble the salad one day ahead, BUT don't mix in the dressing and almonds until ready to serve (or 1 hour before). In a large bowl combine the bacon, broccoli, celery, green onions, red grapes, green grapes, and raisins; cover and refrigerate.

        To Make Dressing:
        Whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, lemon juice, salt, and orange oil (if desired). Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.. {Note: this recipe makes more dressing than may be required. Add only half to salad mixture; add more if necessary. Extra dressing can be served along-side salad.}

        Toss dressing and almonds into salad; spoon salad into serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

        NOTES : A very refreshing salad! It is crunchy, sweet, and salty all at once--Very Good!

        Versatile, can adjust ingredient amounts to taste.

        {Note: Can chop broccoli stems very small and add to the salad for extra 'crunch'.}

        1. Thanks for the suggestions. We don't eat meat so the bacon is out. And grapes are hard to come by at this time of year in this part of Mexico. Are "craisins" dried cranberries? I do have those - I might try that. I'll also try a modified version of the dressing recipe. Thanks

          2 Replies
          1. re: madwrk

            The version that I make uses mayonaise diluted with some vinegar and sugar. I do it to taste. I add raisins, toasted pine nuts, green or red onion, and the dressing. I also steam the broccoli for about 2 -3 minutes just so it doesn't have that raw taste.

            1. re: madwrk

              The orange oil is what *really* makes this dressing unique and delicious on this salad IMO. (If you don't have any, orange zest would be fine.)

            2. I usually make a lowfat version of that salad, with chopped broccoli, red peppers, red onion, dried cranberries (or raisins), and a yogurt-lemon juice- sugar dressing. You can chuck in some toasted almonds if you want, or add poppy seeds to the dressing.

              1 Reply
              1. re: piccola

                Piccola,

                I love this salad but I'm not a huge mayo fan so a substitute would really appeal to me. Would you share your yogurt dressing recipe? Thanks

              2. could the "secret ingredient" be preserved lemon?

                1. I've made this with:
                  broccoli
                  sunflower seeds
                  bacon
                  red onion
                  raisins

                  dressing:
                  mayo
                  sugar
                  orange champagne vinegar from TJ's

                  Always a hit

                  1. I do think the missing ingredient must be bacon and I just didn't know it was there. I made a decent version with all the suggestions - dried cranberries, lemon rind, red onion, toasted pine nuts, dressing with a little mayo, a bit of sugar, lime juice- thanks everyone. But it just didn't have any zing. BTW no TJ's in Mexico, as much as we might wish for it.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: madwrk

                      A Wisconsin variation: 4 cups broccoli, 1/2 c. tart apple diced, 1/2 c bacon crumbled, red onion, craisins, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, sugar, mayo, lemon juice. Can add cucumber in season, etc.

                      1. re: madwrk

                        I have made it vegetarian using the fake "bacon bits" that are soy based. Also used wasabi mayo.