Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bacon Cheddar Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Cheddar



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Fear Conquered: Broccoli Salad

Since I do not have bacon, broccoli or red onion in the house, I've decided to post this recipe without pictures (at least for now). It hardly seems worth it to run out to the store, buy the ingredients and make the whole salad all for a couple of pics - so for now, try the recipe and check back for the pics around the 4th of July (I'm sure my friend Dan will ask me to make this for the 4th and this will be the perfect moment for to snap a few pics).

This next part is all about my complaints over Food Network's "The Next Food Network Star" program, so skip to the recipe if you're not interested.

I've watched "The Next Food Network Star" summer series for a couple of seasons and at first the idea seemed interesting and reasonable - a quest to find untapped culinary genius. At least that's what I originally thought the program was all about. But if you've bothered to watch the two hour season premier this past Sunday, you'd know the show has degenerated into a shameless personalities pageant aimed at selling junk to you and me.

It's not about food and it's not about cooking and it's not about finding the next personality who will make food accessible to viewers: it's about money, money, money and sell, sell, sell. Everyone on the show (except for perhaps guest star Wolfgang Puck) are all blatantly obsessed with "star potential". Contestants babble on and on about the woes of their presentation performance - never mind if they can cook chicken correctly. The Food Network "selection committee" relentlessly badgers contestants to improve their camera performance - never mind that the whole point of Food Network is FOOD (wait, is it?)!  Susie Fogelson of Food Network even happily admits (and I am paraphrasing) that she is looking for that next tv personality whose name will sell a line of cookware (think Paula, Giada, RR, etc).

So is there anything wrong with Food Network trotting out a program shamelessly seeking a personality who can sell, sell, sell? No - but the show suddenly feels very "me too" and borders on contempt for food. At least other competition shows like American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance require the contestants to actually have above-average musical/dance talent. If you can't cook chicken or you've never made a sabayon, what were the qualifications to become a contestant? Heartbeat, decent face and unique personality?

Seriously, Food Network, we don't need more personalities selling us stuff. We don't need derivative recipes from outrageous personalities. We need food from people who care about food. Seriously, Food Network - where's the food?

Ok, I'm done. Despite this post, I still plan to watch the show, although I may not be able to contain my loathing. If you watch the show, let me know what you think because maybe I'm too critical of network executives' exploitation in the name of food...

Back to the salad.



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Photo Tutorial

Sliced Bacon
12 ounces smoked bacon

Chopped Bacon
Chop bacon rashers

Frying Bacon in Cast Iron Pan
Cook bacon in a large saute pan over medium heat until crispy (I use a cast iron pan)

Sauteed Bacon Pieces
Make sure to cook the bacon until nice and crispy but not burned, so watch carefully when it gets close

Crispy Bacon Pieces Draining
Let bacon drain on paper towels

Broccoli Flowerettes
Separate broccoli flowerettes from 3 heads of broccoli and cut into bite-sized pieces

Broccoli Added to Salad Bowl
Add broccoli to a large bowl

1/2 Red Onion
Small dice half of a red onion

1/2 Cup Diced Red Onion
You will need approx 1/2 cup of diced red onion, or to taste

Halving Grape Tomatoes
Halve 1 pint of grape tomatoes

Halved Grape Tomatoes Added to Salad
Add onion and sliced tomatoes to salad bowl

Grated White Cheddar Cheese
Grate 4 ounces of aged white sharp cheddar cheese

Grated White Cheddar Added to Salad
Add grated white cheddar cheese to salad

Sliced Yellow Cheddar Cheese
Slice 8 ounces of aged sharp yellow cheddar cheese

Slicing Yellow Cheddar Cheese
Cut slices of cheddar into strips

Cubing Yellow Cheddar Cheese
Cut each slice of cheddar into cubes

Cubed Cheddar Cheese Added to Salad
Add cubes of cheese to salad

1 Cup Dried Cranberries
1 cup dried cranberries

Cranberries Added to Salad
Add dried cranberries to salad

Non-fat Greek Yogurt
For the dressing, start with 1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt

Homemade Mayonnaise
Add 1 cup homemade mayonnaise

Red Vinegar
Add 1 Tablespoon of red wine vinegar and 1 Tablespoon distilled vinegar

Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
Add the juice of 1/2 a lemon

Adding Granulated Sugar to Dressing
Add 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

Cracked Black Pepper Added to Dressing
Add 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Adding Kosher Salt to Dressing
Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Mixing Dressing into Salad
Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour dressing over salad; stir to combine all ingredients

Bacon, Cheddar and Broccoli Salad
Chill salad for at least an hour for best flavor



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Bacon Cheddar Broccoli Salad

    by Javelin Warrior
     Prep Time: 45 min
     Cook Time: 25 min

Ingredients (serves 8)
    Salad
    • 12 ounces smoked bacon rashers, chopped
    • 3 broccoli heads, separated into flowerettes (7-8 cups)
    • 1/2 red onion, minced (or to taste)
    • 1 pint cherry/grape tomatoes, halved
    • 4 ounces extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
    • 8 ounces extra-sharp yellow cheddar, cubed
    • 1 cup dried cranberries
    Dressing
    • 1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
    • 1 cup homemade mayonnaise
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
    • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
    • 1 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar
    • 1/2 lemon, juice of
    Instructions
    1. Heat a large sauté pan (I use cast iron) over medium-high heat; while the pan heats, thinly chop the bacon and add to the pan. Cook the bacon until crispy, stirring occasionally; use a slotted spoon to transfer the crispy bacon to drain on paper towels
    2. While the bacon is crisping, prepare the broccoli, red onion, tomatoes, cheeses and cranberries and add to a large bowl
    3. In a large measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients, then pour the dressing over the salad
    4. Add the crispy drained bacon to the salad, then toss everything until evenly coated. Chill for at least an hour before serving for best flavor
    An original recipe by Javelin Warrior. © 2010 Javelin Warrior. All rights reserved.
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    Hungry for Tips?
    • If you hate trying to slice or chop slimy bacon, freeze the bacon before slicing or chopping - then slice as usual with a sharp knife (thanks to my friend Dan for this tip).
       
    • If you want to avoid using bacon, you can add sesame or sunflower seeds instead to give it texture and flavor (although nothing is the same as bacon); I also want to try this recipe with toasted bread cubes (in place of bacon), but haven’t had the chance yet.
       
    • I like cubed yellow cheeses in salads due to the texture, color, and the little punches of flavor each cube packs; but you can also grate the cheese instead of cubing.

      Pile of Cubed Yellow Cheddar Cheese
       
    • I believe white cheddar has more flavor than yellow, so I like to add some finely grated white cheddar that disappears into the background of the salad, but you could simplify the recipe by using just yellow or white.

      Aged White Cheddar Cheese
       
    • Use a small serrated knife to slice tomatoes - this helps you slice the tomatoes instead of crushing them.
        
    • Make your own mayonnaise and avoid the preservatives and other junk that goes into commercially available mayonnaise. Plus the flavor is so much better than the store-bought bottled stuff.

      Homemade Mayonnaise
       
    • If you want the broccoli to be a little more tender and less chalky, you can blanch the broccoli in boiling water for about 20 seconds followed by an ice bath to stop the cooking; however, you will loose some of the nutritional value of the broccoli (unless you decide to drink the blanching water!).



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    2 comments:

    1. Just spotted this recipe on your fearless post and it looks so good! Bookmarking to make very soon :)

      ReplyDelete
    2. It's one of my all-time favorite summer recipes, Anneli! This is something my friends always request when I go to grill-outs or bbqs. Hope you enjoy and let me know how it turns out for you...

      ReplyDelete