Adapted from Carla Lalli Music’s Where Cooking Begins
As noted in the post above, the broccoli in this salad is pan-seared, which allows the edges to get charred while keeping the stalks/bodies firm. I think you should make the recipe once as directed — the texture may be firmer than you are used to, but I think you’ll find it really nice and refreshing as you eat it. If you find it too firm, next time, sear the broccoli for a longer amount of time on the second side.
I find small heads of broccoli work best for this salad.
This is a salad that can be tailored to your liking. Depending on the size of your dates, you may only need 4 or 5. You may find that the honey is unnecessary given the dates provide a nice sweetness. (I always add the honey.) If you can’t find Marcona almonds, regular almonds are fine — I’ve been using roasted, salted almonds. Other cheeses could work in place of the cheddar, though the cheddar is really nice.
- 2 to 3 small broccoli heads, 1.25-1.5 lbs.
- extra-virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon vinegar, such as apple cider or white balsamic, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup, plus more to taste
- nice flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for finishing
- 5 to 6 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup salted Marcona (or other) almonds, roughly chopped
- 2 ounces aged or sharp cheddar, shaved with a vegetable peeler
- Trim woody ends from broccoli stalks, then cut heads away from stems. Peel stems and halve lengthwise. Cut broccoli heads in half through the crown to create two lobes (don’t separate into florets).
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2-3 teaspoons oil to pan. Place broccoli in skillet cut side down. Season all over with salt and pepper to taste. Cook undisturbed for about 5 minutes or until the undersides are well browned but broccoli is still crunchy — a cake tester should meet firm resistance when inserted into thickest part of stem.
- Turn heads over onto floret size for a minute, just to lightly brown rounded sides, then transfer to a cutting board.
- When cool enough to handle, cut broccoli heads and stems into 1/4-inch (or slightly larger) slices and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil and the honey. Season generously with sea salt. Toss. Taste. Adjust seasoning with more olive oil, vinegar, and salt to taste — I’ve consistently been adding at least another tablespoon each of oil and vinegar. And I find the broccoli can really handle the sea salt, so don’t be shy — salt till it tastes good.
- Add the almonds and dates and toss again. Add the cheddar and toss one final time. Serve immediately or let stand for hours before serving. This salad gets even better as it sits — the dates, almonds, and cheddar soak up the dressing, while the broccoli remains firm (while also absorbing the flavors of the dressing). This is a salad to be eaten with a knife and fork.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 7 minutes
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: broccoli, dates, almonds, cheddar, charred, salad