Raw broccoli is not something that I would eat for fun, that is until I fell in love with this raw broccoli salad. I've made it three days in a row and am showing no signs of tiring of it -- true love, non?
I tried a raw broccoli salad at RAWvolution during a recent trip to LA which opened my eyes to the exciting possibilities of raw food.
Some vegetables are spiteful in the way they convey their goodness by making me suffer for every last vitamin and mineral, like those vicious little wheat grass shots, which might be good for me in the long run, but certainly do nothing for me in the short-term.
The raw broccoli salad was different for a number of reasons. Firstly, I finely chopped the broccoli florets and then soaked them for an hour in a mixture of lemon juice, finely minced coriander, minced garlic, cumin seeds, good quality extra-virgin olive oil and flor de Sal, a Portuguese salt. I bought the salt after reading an enticing review from Marc over at No Recipes in his 5 salts from around the world post. Marc succinctly described the salt as "Strong salinity, mineraly, briny, full of umami".
The combination of the salt, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil, softens the broccoli. It still however, retains its tender crunch and soaks up the intense flavour of the dressing. The addition of cumin seeds add a sweet complexity to the salad, like a fragrant perfume. They can be substituted with caraway or fennel seeds.
The extra-virgin olive oil I'm using at the moment is produced by Badia a Coltibuono, a 1000-year old estate in Chianti, Tuscany. The oil is intensely fruity with a peppery, slightly bitter aftertaste. I've found that when I mix it with various ingredients such as the garlic and lemon juice and then let it sit in the open for a while, the bitterness evaporates. What is left, is a delicious, intense and rich oil. I use it in dressings and top soups and pastas.
A note on chopping the broccoli. While it is rather laborious, it's well worth it at the end. Just make sure you sharpen your knife. The manual chopping is much better than using a processor. I know this from experience. Today we tried to take a short-cut by using the processor which resulted in the broccoli being cut too finely, thus becoming mushy. So...no cheating!
I'm submitting this post to Weekend Herb Blogging being hosted by Pam from Sidewalk Shoes.