This is a salad that is directly from the gods of delicious things. I used to work right by the Whole Foods in Bridgeport and oh man, I would buy a little containers of this salad at least once a week. It’s so good! It’s also a dangerous salad because it is made up of broccoli, so you can easily kid yourself into thinking that it’s healthy. But, oh no, if you are doing it right, it is not.
We recently went through a whole bowl of this. It’s very addictive, as well as being unbelievably tasty, crunchy, bacony, oniony and sweet.
I think this is pretty close to what Whole Foods sells. A lot of the other recipes on the subject that I’ve seen don’t include the bacon or the candied cashews but, in my opinion, both are crucial. If you wanted a vegetarian version, you could of course skip the bacon, but that’s your decision. My personal preference is to very briefly steam the broccoli so that it is crisp-tender, to be honest, I’m not sure if Whole Foods uses raw or lightly steamed broccoli in their version, but that is what I like to do.
Do everyone a favor and bring this one to your next potluck. Or just make it for yourself and eat the whole bowl — either way you win.
Broccoli Crunch Salad (à la Whole Foods)
4 cups Broccoli florets
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
2 tbsp Cider Vinegar
1 tbsp granulated Sugar
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper
1/4 cup Golden Raisins
1/2 cup Candied Cashews (recipe follows)
3 slices Bacon, diced
2 tbsp minced Red Onion
Steam broccoli for 2 minutes, then shock in an ice bath. Drain and lay out on paper towels for any remaining water to drain off while you’re getting the rest of the salad together. Whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar. Add a little salt and pepper.
Cook bacon in a pan until crisp, drain on paper towels. Crumble it up. When you’re ready to assemble it, toss broccoli, raisins, candied cashews, bacon and red onion with dressing. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Chill for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
Adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart
1 cup roasted cashews
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp kosher salt (if your cashews are already salted, skip this or reduce to just a pinch or so)
In a large stainless-steel skillet, combine cashews, sugar and 2 tbsp water. Bring water to a boil over high heat. Lower heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until water evaporates and sugar crystallizes around nuts, about 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine coriander, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, and coarse salt. Stir into nuts and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until sugar begins to melt and caramelize, 1-2 minutes. The line between perfect and burnt occurs very quickly. Stand by and be ready to get he nuts out of the pan. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cool to room temperature before serving, about 5 minutes. Use 1/2 cup in the salad* and the rest for snacking.
* You may need to break up some of the nuts, because they may solidify a bit like brittle in places.