Broccoli Salad with Maple Bacon and Caramelized Apple Vinaigrette
 
 
This salad is the kind of thing that Robert and I like to make as a light dinner occasionally, and then it makes for a lovely lunch the next day. It's one of those salads that holds up well in the fridge and actually gets a little better as it sits overnight. It creates a nice break in my lunch routine, and also makes me feel better about the mini Kit Kat and Snickers bar waiting for me when I finish it, since I essentially ate a bowl of broccoli and other veggies for lunch. It would also be a great potluck dish.
Yield: roughly 4 large servings, could serve a crowd as a side
Ingredients
For the Dressing:
  • 3 oz. + 1 oz. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 oz. brown sugar (roughly ½ cup, packed)
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and diced into medium-sized pieces (preferable pink lady or another sweet/tart apple variety)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • sea salt
  • 4-6 oz. olive oil
For the salad:
  • ½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 6 strips thick-cut bacon
  • maple syrup
  • ½ small red onion, chopped small
  • 1 lb. broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 pink lady apple, sliced thin and chopped
  • ¾ cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • salt
Instructions
To Make the Dressing:
  1. In a small skillet over medium heat, add the 3 oz. of vinegar and the sugar. Let it reduce and thicken. It should turn a dark caramel color and foamy bubbles should form on the surface.
  2. Add the apple and garlic, cooking until the apple gets soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat to let it cool for a few minutes.
  3. In a blender or food processor, add the apple mixture with the rest of the vinegar, thyme, lemon juice, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt. Pulse until combined and only small chunks remain.
  4. Add 4 oz. of olive oil and pulse again. Add more olive oil until you reach your desired consistency. I ended up using about 5 oz., which made a dressing closer to the consistency of a thin apple sauce.
  5. Add salt to taste and set aside.
For the salad:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.
  2. Lay bacon slices on a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, leaving room between each slice. Drizzle the bacon with maple syrup. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until it reaches your desired crispness. Place finished bacon on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. (While the bacon cooks, this would be a good time to do some chopping)
  3. Place the chopped onion in a small bowl with ½ cup of the dressing. Let that sit for at least 5-10 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl combine the broccoli, apple, carrots, cranberries, raisins and almonds. Chop the bacon into bite-sized pieces and add it to the bowl. Add the dressing-soaked onions to the bowl.
  5. Mix everything around and add more dressing as desired. I ended up using all of my dressing. (This salad was not overly-dressed. If you prefer your salad with a heavier dressing, you may want to double the dressing recipe and enjoy the leftovers on something else throughout the week.) Add salt to taste.
Notes
• salad inspired by the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
• dressing adapted from Food52
Recipe by Cake Over Steak at https://cakeoversteak.com/broccoli-salad-with-maple-bacon-and-caramelized-apple-vinaigrette/