Broccoli Salad with Slightly Thai Peanut Dressing

We went on a pic-nic! It was an adventure; we had forgotten that not a pic-nic table in the province has been put out, and also it was a midweek day but it was an August midweek day, and the day-trippers were swarming like mosquitos.

I was sure I could take a photo of our pic-nic salad at the actual pic-nic, but just in case I took a few photos at home before we left. Good thing! We ended up eating standing up, out of the back of the car. We were pretty happy though. This salad was made the night before, apart from the onion and parsley being added in the morning, and it stood up to that and to being hauled around in a cooler for half the day just fine. Some cold baked chicken and some muffins rounded out the menu and we came home feeling like we had had a worthwhile trip; traffic, maskless crowds, table-less parks, and all.

4 to 6 servings
45 minutes prep time

Make the Dressing:
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons tahini
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon chile-garlic sauce
the juice of 2 to 3 limes
a few tablespoons water to thin

Measure the peanut butter, tahini, and sesame oil into a small mixing bowl.

Peel and finely mince the garlic, and add it. Add the remaining ingredients up to the juice of 2 limes. Mix well and taste the dressing; add the juice of up to another lime if you think it is required. This is also the time to adjust the chile garlic sauce, and anything else, really. Thin the dressing with a little water, mixing well after each spoonful, until it is about the consistency of mayonnaise. Keep in mind that dressing should be pretty sharp in flavour – it has a fair bit of territory to cover once it goes on the salad. This can be made up to a day in advance and refrigerated.

Make the Salad:
4 cups finely chopped broccoli florets
2 stalks of celery
a medium carrot
1/4 orange or red bell pepper
1/2 medium sweet onion
1/3 cup chopped cilantro OR parsley
1/2 cups roasted unsalted peanuts

Put a pot of water on to boil to blanch the broccoli. Wash and trim the broccoli, and cut it into fairly small florets. When the water boils, boil them for 1 to 2 minutes, then drain and rinse in cold water until they are cool. Drain very well, then add it to your salad bowl.

Meanwhile, wash, trim, and chop the celery. Peel and grate or shred the carrot. Trim, de-seed, and dice the pepper finely. Peel the onion, and chop. I like to salt mine and let it drain for a few minutes before rinsing it and adding it to the salad. Wash, dry, and finely chop the cilantro or parsley – I think cilantro is the best choice, but there wasn’t a leaf to be found in the garden, so parsley it was – and add that to the salad along with the peanuts. You can toss it with the dressing – although you may not wish to use all of it – or pass the dressing separately.

Last year at this time I made Greek Feta-Stuffed Peppers.

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