This is a great summer salad. There are a million like it out there. I’ve always wanted to make a broccoli salad. I kept putting it off, thinking I needed to find the perfect recipe. In fact, I already had the bones of this recipe right under my nose. This is, for all intents and purposes, my Aunt Jane’s broccoli salad recipes. It is one of the tried and true family formulas that came pouring in when I asked my family to help me put together a family cookbook several years ago. I often thumb through it when I need a burst of inspiration. Somehow it always sends me in a good direction. It has never failed to leave me smiling, regardless of whether I cook from it that day or not. It is my grandmother’s kitchen hidden in stained, beloved pages.
I think of this as a tea room salad, or a picnic salad. It is definitely a classic, though I’ve modified it a bit from the traditional recipe. I took Jane’s recipe and played with it a bit and this is where I landed. I love it and I will be making it for ages. You should know that most substitutions here are merely ones caused by the current inventory of my pantry and freezer. For instance, Jane calls for raisins but I have dried cherries in my freezer that our friends Pat and Bubba gave us last year after returning from a trip to Michigan. Jane uses yogurt in her dressing, but I had only sour cream on hand. Most of these broccoli salad recipes call for sunflower seeds, but I had only slivered almonds. So I toasted them and called them preordained. Use what you have. But, never skip the bacon.
One little broccoli note, before I begin. If you chop broccoli, you end up with a mess of green buds and stuff everywhere. I think broccoli is pretty and I like to keep it somewhat intact. So, I chop off the stems fairly close to the florets and chop the stems with a knife, but separate the buds by hand. They will section off nicely for you if you pull them apart. If they are being stubborn, you can cut the stem a little closer or you can score the bottom with a knife and then pull them apart. It is slightly fussy, but it keeps the little green thingies attached to the stem which I think is nice. Obviously, you need not be fussy…chop away if you choose.
Finally, when I know I will be using chopped bacon in a recipe, I often cut it up with poultry shears into the pan and fry it in cut up pieces. It saves crumbly chopping at the end, and seems to cook more evenly for me.
4 cups fresh broccoli florets, stems chopped and florets separated into tiny pieces
6 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
½ cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 cup dried cherries
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
3 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the slivered almonds on a cookie sheet and bake for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the almonds from the oven and allow them to cool completely.
2. Cut the broccoli florets off of the main stem. Then cut the florets at the very base of the buds and separate them into tiny florets. Dice the stems and add them to the florets to make 4 cups of broccoli bits.
3. Combine the broccoli, bacon, almonds, dried cherries, and minced onion in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, orange juice, vinegar, and sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix. Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
Thanks for the inspiration, Aunt Jane! I love you. Give Stan a hug for me. Then tell him to give you one from me, too.
If you need other great Summer Salad Ideas, try these:
…or just visit my SALAD page (see the categories on the left hand side of the screen) for a lot of other great (cool dinner for hot day) salads.
PS…Come visit the PIE Etsy Shop. I think you need a Sissy Stick and a pastry cloth.