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“One of the cowgirls I met on my travels said she struggled for ideas at mealtimes because the men weren’t overly keen on eating veg. However, she did say one of the things they would eat was broccoli salad. Every diner and restaurant in Cody seemed to have one on the menu, so I created this version, which is absolutely delicious and hits all the right spots. When I cooked it for a group of ranchers there was none left by the end of the night. Success! ”
Use a small knife to remove the broccoli florets and cut them up into smaller ones. Basically, this is your opportunity to make the broccoli really delicate and more salady-looking, so spend a bit of time doing this. You’ll be left with the stalk, so discard the thick dry base, then cut the remaining stalk in half lengthways and finely slice.
Blanch your broccoli florets and sliced stalks really quickly in boiling salted water for 60 seconds, just long enough to soften the broccoli but still leave it with a bit of a bite. Drain it in a colander, then spread it around a clean tea towel to steam dry (this is important because it will help the dressing cling to the broccoli). Once completely dry, transfer to a serving dish.
Finely slice the bacon and fry on a medium heat with a small splash of olive oil until crisp and golden, then spoon most of the bacon bits over your broccoli.
Any leftover fat in the pan can be used in your salad dressing. Pour it into a mixing bowl, then peel and finely grate in the garlic. Add all the other dressing ingredients, season with sea salt and black pepper, and whisk.
Halve, deseed and finely slice the tomatoes and chop the chives, reserving the flowers. Add to your broccoli and bacon bits. Dress it all really well, and check the seasoning. If it needs pimping up, add a splash more vinegar. If you’ve got any chive flowers, sprinkle those over the top and serve straight away. It’s beautiful on its own or served next to any grilled or roasted meat or fish.
I also like to toss things like diced feta cheese or chopped fresh chilli through this salad. Different-coloured cherry tomatoes are really nice too.