Broccoli with Feta and Fried Almonds

 Perfectly cooked broccoli with tangy feta and crunchy fried almonds. I thought I hated broccoli until I tried this salad. For real.

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Tis the season to be thankful:

I’m thankful for conversations with grocery store clerks. They are always so cheerful. Or maybe it just seems that way because I am so cheerful about all the food I am buying.

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I’m thankful for cold spiced apple cider and red trees.

I’m thankful for Charlotte, who, when I prompt her during prayers, says in a muted voice, “It’s not your turn.”

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I’m thankful for women who are not afraid to unabashedly adore my baby when I am out and about.

I’m thankful for lightning-fast spiders who make me literally chase them across the living room carpet before I get enough leverage and blasting materials to squash them to smithereens. Oh wait, that belongs on my “Things That Make Me Squeal Like a Little Girl” list.

I’m thankful for dry shampoo. Nuff said.

I’m thankful for Target. It’s where I can live all of my holiday dreams. Sometimes I walk in and tell myself that I can buy one less-than-$10-item. After walking all of the aisles, (maybe 3 times, maybe not) I decide that one item isn’t enough. I need to buy Target. All of it. The whole store….And that’s when I walk out empty handed.

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So what are you guys filling your plate with on Thanksgiving? Are you piling 75% of your plate real estate with mashed potatoes, or is it the stuffing? Don’t tell me it’s the sweet potatoes with the marshmallows on top, I might have to review our friendship.

Sometimes I don’t even bother eating whatever token vegetable/salad is on the table. I mean, who has room for green beans when there is turkey and gravy and this cranberry tart to be had?

But I realize now that I just haven’t been presented with the right vegetables. If it’s going to be competing with all this other rich food, it’s got to be exceptional.

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Enter this Broccoli Salad with Feta and Fried Almonds. I made this today. Then I ate half of it. Yes, that is a half pound of broccoli. Standing in my kitchen, with a fork, from the bowl I had stirred it together in. Then when Eric got home I made it again, an entire other batch, because I needed him to try it hot and fresh. I don’t regret it. It was easy, because this only takes 20 minutes to make.

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Am I the only moron who has never fried almonds before? SO GOOD. I couldn’t stop eating them, there was barely enough to go in the salad. I made extra afterward just so that I could eat them. Usually I just toast almonds in a dry pan. You’ve got to try this.

The almonds add just the right crunch to the crisp-tender broccoli and the soft feta. The sauce is simple, but that means the flavors stand out. You can make this as spicy as you want. Even if you prefer your food mild, add at least a pinch of crushed red pepper, that way you still get the flavor but don’t have to deal with too much heat. Add this to your Thanksgiving menu. Make the turkey jealous!

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P.S. I almost forgot. You can add dried cranberries to this salad too. I don’t love sweets in my salads (I would take pepperoncinis over strawberries any day.) But if that’s you’re thing, then by all means. It sure makes it pretty.


Broccoli with Feta and Fried Almonds

20 minutes

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • about 6 cups of water
  • 1 pound of fresh broccoli crowns, trimmed and broken into similar-sized florets*
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 or 4 shakes of crushed red pepper (if guessing makes you nervous, start with 1/4 teaspoon. You can always add more.)
  • 1 tablespoon + 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
  • handful of dried cranberries, optional

Instructions

  1. In a medium-sized pot, add water until it looks like you have about 6 cups, or measure it out if you want. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Put it on high, put a lid on, and bring it to a boil.
  2. While the water boils, trim and break apart the broccoli. Try to make them the same-ish size so that they cook evenly.
  3. Crush the garlic with the side of a chef's knife, then mince finely. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and mash it all together. (You can use a mortar and pestle for this, or a garlic press. Whatevs. Just get it mashed)
  4. Place the salted garlic in a small bowl, and then add the red wine vinegar. Add in a few shakes of crushed red pepper flakes, and then let that mixture sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add the broccoli florets, cover it with a lid, and set a timer for 3 minutes. This is important! Do not cook longer than 3 minutes! They will get mushy and lackluster. Don't sneak a peek in the pot. Just set the timer.
  6. When the timer goes off, immediately pour the broccoli into a colander in the sink, and let cool a bit.
  7. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small heavy frying pan. Add the almonds, and fry until they are lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. Keep an eye on them, they burn very quickly. Put the almonds on a paper towel-lined plate and immediately sprinkle with a dash (or 4) of salt. Let almonds cool a few minutes.
  8. Whisk the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil into the vinegar-garlic mixture. Stir together the broccoli, feta, and half the almonds in a mixing bowl; add cranberries if you are using them. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Serve salad while it is hot, with remaining almonds sprinkled over the top.

Notes

* You can use frozen broccoli florets, but only if you must. The sauce still made them taste amazing, but they were slightly mushier than the batch that I made using fresh crowns. Thaw completely before blanching.

http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2013/11/15/broccoli-with-feta-and-fried-almonds/

Source: adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen, who got it from Fine Cooking

 

Comments

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Comments

  1. Janice says

    Broccoli is my favorite vegggie anyway, and these pics make it even more enticing! Watch out, you’re going work yourself into several jobs come Thanksgiving :)

  2. says

    This is beautiful! I just made a broccoli salad (I’d never had one before) at my monthly cooking class and it changed my life, as in that’s what I’m preparing for the salad at our Thanksgiving table this year. I can’t wait. This looks amazing. I just love toasted slivered almonds and broccoli and feta and cranberries! Basically, loving all of it!

    BTW- Your blog is beautiful! Are you using wordpress? My husband and I played with word press once and it didn’t go well because it was confusing…but eventually we would love to get to that point, lol!
    Chels Rief recently posted…Sugar Cream PieMy Profile

    • says

      Thanks Chels! I have to say, this was the best broccoli I’ve ever eaten. What is the salad that you are making? My faith in broccoli has been restored. I think I might branch out now :)

      And thank you for your kind words about my blog! Yes, I do use wordpress. I highly recommend it, actually. There is a learning curve but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy. I am self-hosted though Bluehost. NiftySwank did my design…love her stuff! Check her out.

  3. amy says

    just wanted to drop a line and thank you for posting this recipe. we just made this for dinner and it did, indeed, make us want to eat 4lbs of broccoli in one sitting. delicious!

    • says

      Thanks so much for your review Amy! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who eats insane amounts of vegetables when there is feta involved. Lol! Thanks so much for the comment, it really makes my day when people come back to tell me how a recipe turned out for them.

  4. Jen says

    Made this salad tonight – delicious! Even my feta cheese hating husband loved it. I added the cranberries and really appreciated the sweetness they lent it. Sadly, I overcooked my broccoli so it was a bit mushy, so I’ll pay attention next time (and there will be a next time!).

    • says

      I’m so glad this turned out well for you Jen! And I’m sorry that your broccoli was mushy, they are fickle little guys when you blanch them like that. Good thing the dressing makes up for it! I think that dressing could make cardboard taste good.

  5. says

    I pinned this last week on Pinterest. I made this last night for our “Christmas” dinner. The family LOVED it. They wanted it again today; I doubled the recipe this time. There were no leftovers. Thanks for a tasty side dish.

    • says

      Hooray! I’m so glad you guys loved it! You are making me crave this again. It’s so good! Thanks for commenting, Brenda; it makes me so happy to hear that other people are trying out my recipes (and liking them :) Happy New Year!

  6. JohannaMaria says

    Almost killed myself with the broccoli!
    Just had a dinner with this delicious broccoli with mashed potatoes. It’s a killer. I’m loaded.
    And happy. Soooo good!

  7. sarah says

    hmmm… this was ok! i love broccoli, but i wasn’t wowed by this recipe. the fried almonds were tasty, but i am not sure they added anything more than regular or toasted almonds do. do you serve this warm or cooled? we served it warm…and like i said, it was ok! always like to try something new, so thanks for the idea. i prob wouldn’t make it again though, but it definitely wasn’t bad, just wasnt amazing!

      • sarah says

        So I actually just are the leftovers (cold) for lunch, and I added a tablespoon of soysauce, and it really kicked up the flavor! I think part of the problem yesterday was the flavors hadn’t melded well. And the soy sauce definitely helped. I liked it a lot better today :)

  8. sarah says

    I should also mention that I spent most of yesterday browsing your website and pinning recipes! Can’t wait to try them all. I made the coco-cola jello salad, but I’ll write on that page for a review :)

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