Thursday, August 27, 2009
For our cooking date, Haley picked out Broccoli Crunch as an entree. We had planned to add some shrimp to make it more of an entree, but we totally forgot about it and didn't even notice until we were having seconds. This recipe, although it was a bit of work, was absolutely delicious.
The crunchy shallots were one of my favorite parts. They got a little lost in the salad because of the red onions, but they were so fun to make and yummy little crisps. These can be made in advance, which I would recommend since I was constantly running back and forth to check them. I guess I am not the type of person who can handle more than one thing on the stove at a time.
One sad part was that I cooked the broccoli a little more than I wanted to. The salad is called "Broccoli Crunch" for a reason - everything is supposed to crunch. I cooked the broccoli in boiling water as per the directions, but left it for a few minutes rather than a few seconds. It wasn't mushy or bad, just not crunchy enough. The broccoli also was unfortunately not that great quality either. I would like to try again when I see some better broccoli at the market in the coming weeks.
We used Pink apples and Fuji apples (or so said the sign at the store). Both were delicious, but I particularly liked the Pink apples. We sliced them thinly, which was fine, but I would also cut the apples into bite-size pieces next time in keeping with the rest of the salad being crunchy bite-size pieces.
The almond butter dressing was amazing, and we used sliced almonds instead of walnuts to complement the dressing. It was so good, and I know it would lend itself to shrimp as well, even though we forgot them. They would be perfect in this bite-size salad. I think some tofu croutons (see How to Cook Everything Vegetarian) might be yummy as well. I also want to note that I left out the optional chives. I think the salad was oniony enough without them, and after the sad green bean experience yesterday, I didn't want to use them in case they were part of the problem.
One more note about leftovers... I might make this again on a weekend, keeping all the ingredients separate and combining them only for individual portions. I might cook the broccoli each time too, since my slightly overcooked broccoli didn't hold up too well in the leftovers. But it would be easy to throw together during the week with everything already prepared and ready to go. I found that it worked well to keep the thinly sliced apples in a tupperware with water and the juice of one lemon. They seem to be keeping really well.
This is definitely something I will be making again, especially as more apples come in season. According to this map on Epicurious, broccoli will be in season through October, so I will have plenty of chances to perfect this recipe. If I am lucky, broccoli will stick around for Thanksgiving so I can make this for the big meal... I am already plotting to cook lots, although I won't be able to have it at my house, so hopefully my mom will host and take care of the meat and things. But that is a topic for another time...