There are too many ingredients in this salad (or side dish) to come with a name for it that includes them all. Really, it's a dumbed down version of what Heidi at 101 Cookbooks calls Broccoli Crunch Recipe and it. is. fabulous. Actually, I just had it for lunch and had to post immediately.
Best Broccoli Salad (or something)
- 1 medium-large onion
- 4-5 cups small broccoli florets
- Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt (or less)
- 2 Tablespoons peanut butter (original recipe calls for almond butter)
- 3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons hot water
- 2 small apples, cut into thin slices
- Small handful of almonds, toasted (or substitute peanuts)
Start by caramelizing the onion - sauté with a drizzle of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Once caramelized, move onions to a paper towel to crisp up a bit. Meanwhile, get water boiling for the broccoli and either blanch or steam until it reaches your preferred consistency (it should have a crunch to it) - Heidi barely cooks it for 15 seconds but I steam mine for at least 5 minutes with a sprinkle of salt, then rinse with cool water to stop the cooking. I took her suggestion to dry it in a salad spinner and thought it was a brilliant trick - no soggy broccoli.
Make the dressing: Whisk together the salt (less if your peanut butter is salty), peanut butter, lemon juice, honey, oil and hot water. Full disclosure here - I only had a little over a cup of broccoli so I scaled everything back a lot (though I still used a medium onion) and I made the dressing using the juice of half of a small lemon along with about a teaspoon of everything else and a pinch of salt. I omitted the garlic and the red onion from the original recipe mostly because it was just too many steps. Pour dressing over broccoli and apples, top with caramelized onions and nuts.
The number of steps and dirty dishes aside, this was an amazing recipe. Here's a close-up of that creamy dressing and layers of flavors: