Food for Friday – Garlicky Sesame-Cured Broccoli Salad

I love food. I love going out to eat. Way back when I started to teach myself how to cook, I thought, why not cook things that are as good or as interesting as food I’d get in a restaurant? Now that I have kids, thrift, ease and speed are also considerations. This recipe’s got all of those things.  It’s from “In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite” by Melissa Clark.  She writes a food column for the New York Times Dining section, and each recipe in her book is accompanied by a mini-essay about the dish. For this one, she writes about how she used to call the dish marinated raw broccoli salad, and no one would eat it. She changed the name (I think “sesame-cured” makes it sound complicated, though it’s the exact opposite) and the dish finally got it’s due appreciation.  It’s super easy and super good.  My whole family loves it. It can act as a side dish, or you can toss in some chicken breast or shrimp, serve it with noodles and rice, and it’s a complete meal.

I followed the recipe exactly, and found it to be a little saucy. Next time, I think I’d up the broccoli amount, because although the sauce is delicious, the large amount of oil makes it feel heavy if there’s not something else to sop it up. (Sidenote – I love that she calls for “fat” garlic cloves. Can’t you just see them?) Here’s the recipe. Hope you like it!

Garlicky Sesame-Cured Broccoli Salad

1 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp kosher salt, more to taste

2 heads broccoli, 1 lb each, cut into bite-size florets

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 fat garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 teaspoons roasted (Asian) sesame oil

Large pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1. In a large bowl, stir together the vinegar and salt. Add the broccoli and toss to combine.

2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add the garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the sesame oil and pepper flakes. Pour the mixture over the broccoli and toss well. Let sit for at least 1 hour at room temperature, or chilled, up to 48 hours (chill it if you want to keep it for more than 2 hours.) Adjust the seasonings (it may need more salt) and serve.

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