Sometimes a dish is more than the sum of it’s parts. Sometimes a dish totally surprises you with how good it is. I have to tell you that this salad is one of the best salads I have ever eaten. I have been familiar with Mollie Katzen for a long time. She is the author of the Moosewood Cookbook and The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. All things vegetable are her forte. In her latest book, The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without, she presents us with almost 100 vegetable recipes that are her current favorites. When I first looked at this broccoli salad recipe I thought of another broccoli salad recipe that I have made in the past that involved raisins and nuts and mayonnaise. I loved that salad. This one seemed sparse in comparison. How wrong I was. All I can tell you is that it is the best. It could become a classic. It looks simple and it is simple to make, but the combination of the blanched broccoli, the wilted red onions and the crisp apples with the honey- mustard viniagrette is genious. I could not stop eating it. Molly Katzen knows what she is doing.
It is appropo that I am giving you a vegetable recipe right now. We have just joined the Friends of the Hickory Nut Gorge Community Garden. We have signed up for a beautiful garden plot with a view of Chimney Rock and the Hickory Nut Falls. Our garden plot is small but we want to grow heirloom tomatoes and peppers, squash, and beans. I plan on posting pictures of our garden as it evolves.
In the meantime, you seriously have to try this salad. I don’t usually wax poetically about my recipes, but I am now. This is excellant!
BROCCOLI, APPLES, AND RED ONION SALAD
1 large bunch broccoli
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons honey
5 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 medium sized tart apple, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Put up a large saucepan of water to boil. While waiting for this to happen, remove and discard the thick lower stems of the broccoli, and cut the thinner upper stems and tops into medium-sized spears.
2. Measure the vinegar into a medium-large bowl. Use a small whisk to stir constantly as you add the mustard, garlic, salt, and honey.
3. Keep whisking as you drizzle in the oil in a steady stream. The mixture will thicken as the oil becomes incorporated.
4. By now the water should be boiling. Turn it down to a simmer and add the broccoli. Let it cook in the water for 1 to 2 minutes, or until it becomes very bright green and tender-crisp. Meanwhile, place the sliced red onion in a large colander in the sink.
5. Pour the broccoli and all its water over the onion in the colander. ( The hot water will wilt the onion slightly upon contact. ) Place the colander of vegetables under cold running water for a few minutes, then shake to drain well.
6. Transfer the vegetables to the bowlful of dressing. Use tongs to toss until the broccoli is well coated, adding the apple slices as you go. You can serve this right away, or cover and let it marinate in the refregerator, where the flavor will deepen. Serve cold or at room temperature, topped with freshly ground black pepper to taste.