Every once in a while I stumble across a recipe and become fixated on it. No sleep until I make it. Okay, this is actually more of a recurring theme in my life. This charred broccoli salad with arugula and smoked cheddar is one of those recipes. It intrigued me. I mean, what doesn’t sound good about a salad with homemade dressing, smoked cheddar cheese, fresh arugula, and charred broccoli?
When my Bon Appetit magazine comes every month, I flip through it and earmark a few recipes I want to try. The September issue had this grilled broccoli and arugula salad in the R.S.V.P. column, which is a column where BA publishes recipes from restaurant menus. The salad is like an adult’s dressed up version of frozen broccoli with Velveeta.
I don’t know why, but BA’s pictures always look so much more vibrant than my pictures, especially the dressing… I didn’t look at the online picture of the salad before I made it. The magazine just has a black and white, cartoonish type drawing. Also, it looks like they used a smoked white cheddar cheese while I used a regular orange cheese.
The salad dressing is very green. I don’t know why this surprised me. The dressing has chervil, tarragon, and chives… all green. I used parsley in place of chervil because the grocery store didn’t have any chervil and I wasn’t about to drive all over looking for it. Also, if you’re not a big tarragon fan, or haven’t used it very often, consider halving the amount in the recipe. I found the tarragon to be a bit strong for my tastes. It has a sort of licorice-type taste.
You can serve this charred broccoli salad with arugula and smoked cheddar a variety of ways. I tried it both warm and cold. Think I prefer it better chilled. I also made it a main dish salad by adding chicken and pumpkin seeds. Or just adding pumpkin seeds to the recipe and serving it as a side salad would work too. I’m calling my recipe charred instead of grilled because I didn’t cook the broccoli over a grill, just charred it in my cast iron skillet. Either works though. Give it a try, let me know what you think!
- 2 heads of broccoli florets
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 oil-packed anchovy fillet
- 2 garlic cloves
- ⅔ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 1 cup chervil with tender sprigs (can substitute parsley)
- 1 cup tarragon leaves (or reduce to ½ cup)
- ¼ cup chopped chives
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1½ tsp Dijon mustard
- 4 cups baby arugula (original recipe calls for 3 cups mature arugula)
- 3.5 oz smoked cheddar, grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook broccoli in a large pot of boiling salted water for 2 minutes, until bright green and crisp tender.
- Then drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Let cool and drain.
- Pat broccoli dry and place in a large bowl.
- Next, heat a medium-sized skillet (cast iron) over medium high heat.
- Toss broccoli in olive oil. Season with salt.
- Char broccoli in cast iron skillet, turning occasionally.
- Cook until broccoli is charred in spots, about 5-10 minutes.
- Return to bowl and let cool.
- Meanwhile, to make dressing, puree anchovy, garlic, mayonnaise, buttermilk, chervil, tarragon, chives, lemon juice, and mustard in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss arugula with charred broccoli.
- Drizzle with ¾ cup dressing.
- Finally, top with smoked cheddar.