Dear Salads Class Participants:
Oh you know who you are. You're the ones I impressed by memorizing your names even though we were out of name tags last night. I didn't forget them. You are Carol, Chantelle, Christine,
Matt Mike, Rebecca, Juris Doctor Dre, Melanie, Caroline, John, Paula, Laura, and Rachel Kari. Yeah. YOU.
In case you didn't write down the bonus recipe, or take an iPhone photo of it, I'm linking to Melissa Clark's original recipe and writing down my version for you (less oil, less garlic, a little more sesame oil, ground cumin instead of whole cumin seeds). Because dang folks. After polishing off the last of the batch I'd thrown together yesterday afternoon, my toddler son and I were practically licking our bowls clean this evening. It's so good!
I hope you'll make it soon for yourselves and some people you love. And I hope you'll come to another class. And I hope I see you next Tuesday at Central Library's Smitten Kitchen cookbook event.
Non-salad class participants: this is for you too. It's a simple salad that takes about ten minutes to throw together (less time if you've got any knife skills) and then an hour of "curing". The raw chopped broccoli wades in a little acid-salt brine before swimming in a warm garlic-pepper-sesame oil marinade. Some culinary chemistry ensues. Salt, acid, heat, and time do some magic and, voila! - Melissa Clark's apt words, not my own - broccoli ceviche. It completely takes on the toasty, spicy flavors of the marinade and is so vibrant in color that it looks like it's been blanched. The best part is its nearly-crisp texture though. It's not quite raw, but slightly crisper than what I consider al dente. It's absolutely delightful. I never had the pleasure of experiencing such a perfect broccoli bite until I tried out this recipe. So I'm v. glad I did!
Melissa Clark's Garlic-Sesame Cured Broccoli
Yields: 8 big servings (recipe is easily halved, but see note at bottom)
1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar or lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt plus more to taste
2 heads broccoli (total 2 lbs), stems peeled and chopped, tops cut into bite-size florets
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons cumin seeds or 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2-3 teaspoons roasted (Asian) sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon (or more) crushed red pepper flakes
In a large bowl, stir together the vinegar and salt. Add broccoli and toss to combine.
In a small saucepan, heat olive oil until barely hot (not smoking). Add garlic and cumin and stir for about a minute. Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil and pepper flakes. Pour mixture over broccoli and toss well with a rubber spatula. Let sit for at least 1 hour at room temperature, and up to 48 (chill it if you want to keep it for more than 2 hours). Adjust seasonings (it may need more salt, you may need more red pepper flakes) and serve.
Note: While Melissa Clark says you can make this up to 48 hours ahead of time, I think that the phenomenal "near-crispness" of the broccoli sort of takes a bow after about 24-30 hours. If you are halving the recipe, halve all ingredients except the vinegar or lemon juice. It is just plain tricky to coat broccoli in less than a teaspoon of vinegar. When I prepared this for my family the first time, I used the full amount of vinegar (and salt, actually) on one pound broccoli, and it was delicious - neither too acidic nor too salty.