2005: How I missed this favorite salad from so many years of church potlucks, who knows!
But I've got it now! When friends of my parents brought a bowl of this broccoli and bacon salad along for supper last month, I couldn't get enough – and was I ever glad they were going on vacation and thus wanted to leave the leftovers behind. I was assured that there'd be recipes in every church cookbook. Turns out, there were two recipes, one from my own sister! right there in the family cookbook we published three years ago.
2010 Update: My sister's broccoli salad recipe already used far less mayonnaise than most broccoli salads, especially those from the grocery store which are thick-thick-thick with gloppy mayonnaise. But I've lightened it further still by using a favorite new technique of using half mayonnaise and half buttermilk. (See Cold Shrimp in Creamy Dill Sauce with Capers.) When I served it for a birthday supper, two people took special notice: "Wow, this broccoli salad doesn't have all that mayonnaise. This is GOOD." I also chopped up the broccoli stalks into a tiny dice, adding welcome bulk and crunch to a rich salad.
BROCCOLI, BACON & RAISIN SALAD with CHEDDAR
Time to table: 15 minutes if the bacon's already cooked, otherwise 25
Makes 3 cups
4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled (my favorite way to cook bacon, Baked Bacon)
1 - 2 broccoli tops, about 1 pound
1/4 cup Hellman's Light mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
Zest from half a lemon
Small splash lemon juice, about 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/3 cup currants or raisins
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
While the bacon cooks, prep the broccoli. Wash well, pat the tops dry with a paper towel (if you have time to drain well in a colander, this is work doing). Cut the florets into tiny bites. Dice the stalks. (If the skins are tough, you might want to peel the stalks first.)
In a large bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Stir in the broccoli, stirring until the sauce completely covers all the pieces, you really want to distribute it well and evenly. Stir in the currants and cooked bacon, distributing evenly. Stir in all but a sprinkle of the cheddar cheese and transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish the top with that sprinkle of cheddar cheese.
Can be eaten right away but is best if left to sit for 2 - 3 hours, letting the dressing soften the broccoli and the flavors meld.
If cooking the bacon in a skillet, for even pieces and faster cooking, slice the strips before cooking. If you like, cook a whole package of bacon; break into pieces (if you didn't cut it first) and freeze for later. Save the bacon grease for later, too -- I keep a covered jar in the frig and just add to it whenever I cook bacon, use a smidge or two for morning eggs, some stir fries, etc.
Currants are a little less sweet than raisins. In addition, since they're a little smaller, they distribute better, just like mini vs regular chocolate chips in cookies.
You could substitute a little vinegar for the lemon juice.
Note to Vegetarians
~ Classic Seven Layer Salad ~
~ Homemade Cobb Salad ~
~ Broccoli, Pepper & Celery Salad ~
~ more broccoli recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Power Food Broccoli Salad ~
~ Quick Broccoli Soup ~
~ Broccoli Rigatoni with Chickpeas & Lemon ~
~ more broccoli recipes ~
~ more bacon recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade