This Lemon Garlic Broccoli Salad is a new twist on an old Italian classic. It is great served hot, cold, or at room temperature.
Recently, my father in law was speaking of his mother’s lemon garlic broccoli salad. He said that he was not a big fan of broccoli, except when prepared this way. Hers was bright green and crisp, and it gave him garlic breath so bad that the guys on his baseball team would all give him grief when he ate it.
Unfortunately, Nonnie is no longer with us so I can’t ask for her recipe, but judging by the garlic breath, I’m pretty sure hers had raw garlic in it. I like raw garlic but it doesn’t like me. Not only does it give me breath that will make your hair curl, I continue to taste it all day long, and it is hard on my stomach. I decided to make my own version of Nonnie’s broccoli salad using sautéed garlic.
I love the idea of making a big batch of broccoli that can be eaten hot, cold, or a room temperature. This way I can serve it for dinner, and enjoy the leftovers throughout the week. It’s even good along side eggs for breakfast! It would also be great to serve at a party!
First, gather your ingredients, I made this batch with one head of broccoli, but I had a lot of lemon/garlic sauce left over. Sooo… you can make two heads of broccoli, or halve the lemon garlic mixture, or use the lemon garlic mixture on something else… It would be great on blanched green beans or asparagus!
Don’t forget the red pepper flakes!
Cut the broccoli into evenly sized florets, about 1& 1/2 ” wide. I kept a bit of the stems on mine; they were about 2” long. Trim stems of any leaves or tough skin.
Now line your broccoli florets up like good little soldiers… (just kidding).
Wash the florets and then blanch them.
To blanch broccoli, just drop it into a pot of boiling water, being careful not to splash yourself. Boil for about 3 minutes, until crisp/tender and bright green.
While the broccoli is boiling, prepare a large bowl of ice water.
With a slotted spoon transfer the broccoli to the ice bath, and let them sit for at least 30 seconds. This will “shock” the florets and stop the cooking process. Strain off the water and ice, and pat dry.
As a side note, I just wanted to mention that my boys gave me an awesome non-stick ceramic pan for Christmas. It is sooo much better than my old Teflon pan, which I happily tossed into the circular file. This one is a WearEver Pure Living frying pan. I love that it is dishwasher safe, metal utensil safe and is PTFE, PFOA, Cadmium and lead free. I don’t think I would use it to brown anything, but I like it for sweating vegetables and its fabulous for eggs. Thanks boys!
Okay back to the recipe…. Finely chop a tablespoon of garlic.
Zest and juice one lemon. You will have some lemon juice left over, which you can save for another recipe, like a salad dressing…
Stir the salt into the 2 Tbs of lemon juice.
Heat your pan over a medium-low burner. Add olive oil, and quickly add the chopped garlic and lemon zest. You don’t want the oil to get too hot, because it’s easy to burn the garlic. Saute for about a minute, until the garlic becomes fragrant and is just beginning to brown SLIGHTLY!
Take the pan off the heat. Add the red pepper flakes and the salted lemon juice. Stir to combine.
Toss the broccoli in the lemon garlic mixture.
Garnish with shaved Parmesan if you like, (omit if you are dairy free). This Italian Raw Parmesan from Whole Foods is awesome!
Some toasted pine nuts would be a delicious garnish too. I didn’t include them because I recently developed a nut allergy and even though pine nuts are actually seeds, I was too chicken to try them.
I like this dish best served at room temperature.
I love adding a whole, unprocessed and healthy twist to classic recipes. My food is often grain-free, usually gluten-free, and always unprocessed.