Good ol’ broccoli salad! This classic is no stranger to picnics and potlucks, and for good reason. We swear it makes an appearance at every summer gathering we attend, and yet we’d miss it if it weren’t there. The combination of sweet and tangy dressing with crunchy, savory bacon and toothsome broccoli have made this dish a longstanding classic. But we must admit, while the flavors of broccoli salad are clearly a match made in heaven, we have often felt that raw broccoli leaves something to be desired. That’s why we added in one simple step that takes this salad to a whole ‘nother level… blanching the broccoli.
Briefly cooking the broccoli improves the flavor and texture, but that’s not all it does. A minute in boiling water helps those delicate little florets soak up that delectable dressing and it also turns them a beautiful vibrant green. Don’t cook it more than two minutes; you still want the broccoli to be nice and crisp. To keep the bacon nice and crunchy, keep it on the side until you’re about ready to serve, that way it doesn’t soak up the dressing while the salad is chilling.
Broccoli salad has always been a crowd pleaser but this simple change makes it even better. We’ve been making our broccoli salad this way for quite some time and we always get asked what our secret is. Truth is, it’s not much of a secret! Just a quick extra step that makes this picnic favorite even more delicious.
Broccoli Picnic Salad
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 cups broccoli florets (about 1 1/2 pounds), chopped
- 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1/2 a red onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook broccoli very briefly, 1-2 minutes, until broccoli is bright green and still crisp.
- Drain broccoli and put into bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, then drain again and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, honey and salt and whisk to combine.
- Add the broccoli, cheddar cheese, and onions and toss to coat with dressing.
- Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
- Before serving, add bacon crumbles and toss again until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Enjoy!
Adapted from Once Upon a Chef.