A few weeks ago Jeff (my roommate while Betsy is in Atlanta) introduced me to one of his favorite salads. While broccoli salad may not sound too amazing, there are some really interesting flavors going on this salad. Roasted red peppers, olives, and feta give it kind of a Mediterranean feel. It also happens that the recipe makes enough to feed a small village.
It would be solid for a picnic or just to use as a side dish. It always keeps really well and I ate it throughout the week. The night we made it though we just ate with some toasted homemade bread.
Before I dive into the recipe, I have to admit something. I was kind of a bad food blogger for this recipe. I took photos, but I wasn’t exactly measuring all the ingredients. Luckily, I don’t think this is a recipe that calls for exact proportions. In any event, the recipe below is just an approximation, but I’m very certain that it will produce good results and also that you could add a bit more or less of any one ingredient and it should be fine.
Yield: Serves 4.
1-1.5 pounds of broccoli, floret and stems
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
3 red peppers, roasted, or maybe 1.5 Cups of jarred red peppers
1 Cup Kalamata olives
1 Cup Feta cheese
1/4 Cup red wine vinegar
1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1) Prep the broccoli by cutting off all the florets and then peel the stems and chop them into half inch cubes.
2) Dunk all the broccoli into a large pot of boiling salted water. (I usually use about 1 Tablespoon of salt per gallon of water and I always just approximate it.)
3) After about 3 or 4 minutes, drain your broccoli using a colander and then dunk the colander into ice water.
4) Roast peppers in the oven (450 degrees for about 30-40 minutes turning every 10 minutes or so) or on top of your gas stove (set the peppers right on the stove top, turn on the heat and using tongs, turn the peppers every few minutes until they are almost black all over for about 10 – 15 minutes).
5) Set the roasted peppers on a plate and wrap them up well with plastic for 10-15 minutes.
6) Chop up your other ingredients like the onion, tomato, olives (in halves or quarters), and feta.
7) Peel and dice the peppers and add to mixture.
8) Add broccoli to the mix.
9) In a separate bowl, whisk the olive oil into the vinegar to make a simple vinaigrette.
10) Add the vinaigrette to the veggies and add some salt and pepper to taste. Chill in the fridge for a few hours.
Prepping the broccoli is pretty easy. Cut off all the florets and then peel the stems and chop them into half inch cubes. The stems and florets work great in this recipe.
Once you get your broccoli chopped, we need to blanch it which couldn’t be easier. Just dunk all your broccoli into a large pot of boiling salted water. (I usually use about 1 Tablespoon of salt per gallon of water and I always just approximate it.) After about 3 or 4 minutes, drain your broccoli using a colander and then dunk the colander into ice water. This will stop the broccoli from cooking. The broc should still have a bit of a crunch to it. It shouldn’t be soggy at all.
Now you can always buy peppers that are already roasted, but I like to roast my own if I have the time. That way they are really fresh and flavorful. Now you can definitely roast these guys in the oven (450 degrees for about 30-40 minutes turning every 10 minutes or so), but I like to roast them right on my gas top stove.
Literally, just set the peppers right on the stove top. Then crank up the heat!
Using tongs, turn the peppers every few minutes until they are almost black all over. It’ll probably take 10-15 minutes to get the peppers totally roasted. Oh and you definitely cannot do this if you have an electric stove. Only gas here people. If you have an electric stove then you will have to use the oven or a grill if you have one.
Once your peppers are roasted, set them on a plate and wrap them up well with plastic. This will basically steam the peppers and make them super-easy to peel. They need to steam for 10-15 minutes.
While you are waiting for your peppers to steam, you can chop up your other ingredients like the onion and tomato.
Then add in your olives and feta. I like to chop the olives in half, but you could quarter them if you wanted. Also, be sure that your olives are pitted. The last thing you want is a lawsuit because someone choked on an olive pit at your picnic. Ok. Maybe you shouldn’t worry about a lawsuit, but ya never know.
Once you get everything chopped, the peppers are probably cool and ready to peel and chop. When peeling the peppers you can run them under a little water if you want, but the skin on the peppers should basically slide off. If there are a few black specks that is okay. You won’t be able to taste it in the final product and it kind of gives it a rustic feel.
Dice these guys to be the same size as you tomatoes and onions.
Then finally add your broccoli to the mix.
In a separate bowl, whisk the olive oil into your vinegar to make a simple vinaigrette. It’s pretty important to do it in a separate bowl so you can make sure the dressing is mixed well and also so you can taste it and adjust it if you need to.
Then add it to your veggies and add some salt and pepper to taste. I liked it with a lot of pepper. We probably added 1 Tablespoon of fresh ground pepper and that was a lot. You probably won’t need that much salt. The feta is pretty salty as is.
This salad will be best if you let it chill in the fridge for a few hours. It is perfect on a hot summer day though. Not to mention it’s reasonably healthy!
Give this a shot if you are looking for an interesting salad on these hot days.