03 June 2011
The first time I had a broccoli salad was more than twenty years ago at my father's house. He had only cooked on two previous occasions (besides barbecue) in my entire life, but after my mother died he had to start cooking for himself. I don't recall how he came up with it--it wasn't something my mother had made--but his broccoli salad was really good and became one of his specialties for the rest of his life.
This will tell you how much he didn't cook until he had to. I understand, married to the world's greatest cook, why cook? But my mother actually timed her outings around my father's meals on the days he wasn't working. One day she and I got a bit carried away in town and didn't make it back quite on time. Daddy had actually gone into the kitchen and made himself a ham and cheese sandwich. We got there just in time to see him take his first bite. He gave his head a little shake as if biting down on something "tough." Then he peeled back the top slice of bread to see what the deal was. We spotted the telltale glint of light on plastic. Turns out he had used an individually wrapped cheese slice without unwrapping it. It had been so many years since he had made a sandwich, he didn't know about such things. Needless to say, he was totally disgusted.
So he had a lot to learn once he was on his own. His specialties were beef stew, pot roast and broccoli salad. We loved it, but I still can't quite bring myself to make it. When I do, I'll post it here because I'm sure you'll like it.
In the meantime, here's a broccoli salad I just had for the first time at a big potluck dinner. Not having the recipe, I just wrote down what all I thought was in it and went from there. Since it came out really well, I'm sharing it with you. And, someday, I'll share Daddy's Broccoli Salad [added two years later] with you too!
If you're vegetarian or vegan, this salad can be a good source of protein with its black beans, edamame and sunflower seeds. I like to "beef up" all sorts of things with beans; I'd probably waste away without them! (I was short on broccoli for the batch in the photo, so it looks more like edamame salad!)
(Makes eight 1-cup servings)
3 to 3 1/2 cups (12 ounces) finely chopped raw broccoli
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 10-ounce bag frozen shelled edamame, cooked and cooled
1/4 cup very finely chopped red onion, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds
1/3 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 In 2-quart bowl, combine broccoli, beans, onion, sunflower seeds and cranberries.
2 In small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.
3 Stir dressing into salad. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.