So you think broccoli is a boring plain old vegetable do ya?…. Think again! I am going to show you how to pimp it with delicious spiced Caesar dressing and then incorporate it in a delicious Caesar salad. That’s right, we are taking Caesar salad to a whole new level.
I am super pumped about this dish. Yes, that’s right, I am pumped about a salad. Jamie Olive oil…I mean Oliver (my hero) said: “I don’t eat salad because I want to be healthy, I eat salad because I love eating it”. Such a great mindset to have.
So why Broccoli?
Well, broccoli seems to be this vegetable that is labelled as boring or a vegetable that certain people now have to put up with because they decided to be healthy. Sure, blanching broccoli and eating plain would be pretty boring right? However, wouldn’t you think the same for any other dish that hasn’t been seasoned or spiced up a bit?
Plain rice, a plain poached chicken breast, soup with no flavour….you get the idea. Broccoli can be the coolest and the most exciting ingredient on the planet once you add awesome things to it. Like this spiced Caesar dressing, which I’m about to show you how to make.
I don’t know about you but when I think about broccoli getting coated in a super tasty Parmesan filled creamy dressing, and then topping that with more Parmesan and crispy croutons, my mouth starts to water.
Making the Dressing
Making home-made Caesar dressing is simple, straightforward and shouldn’t take you long at all. Although there are a few things to keep in mind so let me share some tips with you.
- Use olive oil, NOT extra virgin olive oil – Remember that olive oil has a stronger flavour than most other oils. So you will definitely taste it in the dressing. Extra virgin olive oil will be way too strong. So try and get a good quality regular olive oil. You should get that slight, strong olive flavour but not to the point where it tastes bitter.
- The Parmesan cheese IS the seasoning – Much like risotto, Caesar dressing shouldn’t require any salt. Pepper, sure, (at least for me) but not salt. Beleive it or not, Parmesan is often used as a seasoning rather than using it to make the dish cheesy. So keep in mind that if you add salt, you can overpower the dressing.
- Adding water is absolutely necessary – We aren’t making mayonnaise. Caesar dressing requires the same process in order to make it but don’t forget that this is a salad dressing, so you need to loosen it up with warm water. However, you don’t want your dressing to go liquidy so make sure you follow the measurements in the recipe.
- Another thing I would like to mention is that the spices are added to slightly elevate the dish and give it an extra kick. So go light when you add the spices because the goal isn’t to transform this into some kind of curry recipe.
Boiling the Broccoli
Now, a couple of important points here. One, make sure you shock the broccoli (putting it in ice-cold water straight after boiling it). The broccoli is the star of this dish, so don’t overcook it. Cooking it for 2 minutes in salted boiling water and then shocking it will leave you with cooked broccoli that has a nice crunch.
Also, the broccoli only needs 20-30 seconds in the ice water. It’s very important that you don’t leave a vegetable like that in the water because the longer you leave it in there, the more flavour and nutrients the vegetable will lose.
This is a salad you can keep for leftovers
A salad that is dressed with vinaigrette or any other dressing that requires a lot of acid will need to be dressed at the last minute and served straight away. Otherwise, the leaves will cook and wilt down and then go bitter.
However, the great thing about this salad is that dressed or undressed, you can keep in the fridge for leftovers. Which is always nice because it means I don’t have to buy or cook lunch the next day.
Once you have all of your components that will make up this salad. The washed leaves, the cooked broccoli, the boiled and peeled eggs etc. The picture down below shows how I like to serve it. Layered up and placed neatly out on a platter, but at the same time not making it too fancy.
As always, thanks so much for the time you spent on my blog. If you want to make this broccoli salad or have made it, I ask that you leave a star rating in the recipe box below. Also, if you want to follow me on social media, you can head over to my profile on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
So you like salads huh? Then you will definitely enjoy this Grilled Peach and Nectarine Salad.
Broccoli Caesar Salad with Spiced Caesar Dressing
A Caesar Salad with spiced dressing. Only this time, broccoli is the main star of the dish!
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves of garlic minced or chopped very fine
- 160 ml of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of warm water
- 50 g of grated Parmesan (plus extra for finishing the dish)
- A generous pinch of ground coriander
- A generous pinch of ground cumin
- A generous pinch of paprika
- Black pepper
- A handful of ice
- 400 g broccoli florets
- 1 head of baby cos lettuce leaves picked, washed and dried
- 125 g of sour dough bread diced into nice small cubes
- 5 eggs at room temperature
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- Salt for seasoning
- Whisk the egg yolks, mustard and garlic together in a large bowl until well combined.
- Slowly add the olive oil bit by bit whisking through until well combined on each occasion.
Once all of your oil is added you should have a thick mixture. From there, add your lemon juice, warm water, grated Parmesan, ground coriander, ground cumin, paprika and a pinch of black pepper then whisk through one last time.
- Set aside.
- Get a large bowl and fill it up with water, then add your ice cubes.
- Next, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add your broccoli florets and blanch for 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the broccoli to the ice cold water and shock for about half a minute. Drain the broccoli and set aside. (don't leave the broccoli in the water).
Keep the water you used to blanch the broccoli on the stove on a rolling boil. Use a large spoon to gently submerge the eggs into the water. Boil the eggs for 7 minutes, then use the spoon to transfer them to a bowl. Fill that bowl up with cool water from the sink and leave the water running over the eggs for at least 30 seconds. Keep in the cool water until ready to use.
Get a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is nice and hot, add your olive oil, then add your diced bread and toss/stir through the oil. Add a pinch of salt, then keep stirring the bread occasionally until you get golden brown, crispy croutons (make sure they don't burn). Transfer onto some baking paper and set aside.
Crack your eggs by cracking it on a clean surface, then roll it along the surface so the egg gets cracked all over. This should make the eggs much easier to peel. Having a bowl of cold water beside you to dip your egg in as you peel can also be helpful.
Quickly run some water over each egg to make sure there are no little shards of shell left over. Use a sharp knife to cut each egg in half lengthways, wiping your knife with a damp cloth each time you cut an egg.
Use some baking paper to dry your broccoli, then put it in a bowl along with half of your dressing. Coat the broccoli in the dressing.
Next, lay your cos lettuce leaves neatly out on a platter. Put your dressed broccoli on top around the plate. I then like to grate some extra Parmesan on top. Neatly place the halved eggs around the salad. Sprinkle your croutons on top and finally, drizzle over the rest of your dressing.
- Use olive oil to make the dressing, NOT extra virgin olive oil.
- You shouldn't need to add salt to the dressing. The parmesan will be salty enough.
- Remember to shock your broccoli in ice water so you end up with broccoli that is cooked but still crisp and vibrant.
- Don't leave the broccoli in the ice-cold water or you will lose all of the flavour and nutrients.
- This salad is perfect for storing away in your fridge and having for leftovers.
- If you can't get hold of baby cos lettuce, just use regular cos lettuce.