Monday, November 24, 2014

Broccoli Crunch Recipe

They say there are no original ideas and sometimes even when I think I've come up with something new, I find a quick search on the internet proves otherwise. While I try to invent my own creative combinations, sometimes I do find my inspiration online, in cookbooks or in restaurants. Recently I was in Las Vegas where I had a couple of very inspiring meals at Carson Kitchen.

The restaurant serves rich small plates including impossibly crunchy chicken skins and meatballs in a luscious creamy foie gras sherry sauce. One of the dishes I knew I would want to try and recreate at home was their “broccoli crunch.” It turns out there are lots of versions of this dish online, although their version was certainly unique. The menu description included sunflower and pumpkin seeds as well as green goddess dressing. The salad also has dried cranberries and a handful of halved grape tomatoes. I decided to substitute tangerines in place of the tomatoes, which aren’t really in season this time of year. I like the way this dish straddles the line between salad and green vegetable. I plan on serving it at Thanksgiving.

Green goddess dressing is something I had never made before. The original recipe comes from the Palace Hotel here in San Francisco. It was named in tribute to an actor who was starring in a play called The Green Goddess. The original recipe blended green onion with mayonnaise, tarragon, parsley, vinegar and anchovies. I adapted my recipe from some updated ones I found that included sour cream and use chives instead of green onion. The creamy herbal dressing really complements the fresh crunchy broccoli, the rich crisp seeds and sweet notes from the cranberries. The tangerines provide that pop of bright acidity as well as sweetness.

Broccoli Crunch 
Serves 4- 5, easily doubled or tripled for a crowd

1 pound broccoli cut into bite-sized florets
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
2 tangerines or mandarins, peeled and seeded 

2 anchovies
1 1/2 teaspoons minced tarragon
2 Tablespoons minced chives
2 Tablespoons minced parsley
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup mayonnaise 
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
Freshly ground pepper

Heat a large pot of water and when it boils add the broccoli and blanch for one minute, then drain and place in a bowl of ice water to chill. Drain and dry thoroughly. Combine the broccoli with the cranberries, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Break the tangerine into segments and cut each segment in half crosswise. Add tangerine pieces to the broccoli. 

In a bowl mash the anchovies. Add the herbs, vinegar, mayonnaise, sour cream, salt and a few grinds of pepper. Stir until well combined and taste. 

Combine the salad and dressing until thoroughly combined. Chill until ready to serve.