I don’t usually like raw broccoli. Not in a green salad and certainly not by itself. It’s just too crunchy. If crunchy is your thing, more power to you, but I like my salad to be a little more tender.
So when I decided to take on the challenge of creating a raw broccoli salad, I tried a technique I’ve used with kale that I suspected would do the trick. Just like with the kale, I massaged the broccoli with lemon juice and salt. After a nice rub down and sitting for an hour, the broccoli lost much of its “rawness” and turned into a really nice, tender salad.
Even if you don’t typically enjoy raw broccoli, try this broccoli salad and I bet you’ll change your mind.
Bacon, Apple, and Broccoli Salad
I massaged the broccoli with lemon juice and salt. After sitting for an hour, the broccoli turned into a tender salad. Even if you don’t typically enjoy raw broccoli, try this broccoli salad and you’ll change your mind.
- 4 cups broccoli broken into small florets
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 Jonagold apples cored and diced
- 1 small red onion halved, and sliced thin
- 4 slices of bacon
- Rendered bacon fat approximately 3 tbsp
- 4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. (If you like to cook your bacon on the stovetop, skip this step.)
Toss broccoli florets with lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Rub the broccoli lightly between your hands for 2-3 minutes (don’t skip this as it’s important to soften the broccoli).
Add apples and red onion, toss additionally, and set aside. The longer this all sits, the better. I like to leave it for an hour.
Cook bacon until crisp. My preferred method is to put the bacon in a pan in the oven and cook it for about 18 minutes, until golden and crisp. Whichever way you prepare the bacon, once it’s done, remove it from the pan and set aside to cool. Hang on to 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat, though.
When bacon is cool (about 2 minutes), break or slice it into bite-sized pieces and toss with broccoli mixture.
Just before serving, whisk the rendered bacon fat and red wine vinegar together and toss with salad.
Note on the broccoli: I like to use only the florets for this. I cut them off at the top of their stems. The florets will soften in the massaging process, but the stems won’t do that. So I don’t waste the rest of the broccoli, I grate the stems in the food processor and use the grated stems to make my creamy crunchy vinegar vegetable slaw.
Note on slicing onion: Cut the non-root end off the onion and slice the onion in half at the root. Then lay the onion half flat and cut half-moon shaped slices off the end, as thin as you can.
For ultra-thin slices of vegetables: if you don’t have one already, get yourself a Japanese mandoline. It’s really the only way to cut super thin slices of almost anything. At its thinnest setting, it’ll make thin ribbons of the onion. You’ll also love it for any thinly sliced vegetable: carrots, radishes, cucumber, zucchini, etc.