The secret to the success of this broccoli salad is that it handles the florets and stems differently. The florets are blanched briefly, just long enough to soften them and make them juicy, while still preserving their crisp, fresh bite. The stems, meanwhile, are left raw, for a refreshing crunch. Tossed with radicchio and a bold vinaigrette made from basil and pistachios, this is a salad to make you love all the parts of broccoli.
Why It WorksA bold, hearty broccoli salad that doesn't suck
- Blanching the florets very quickly makes them softer and more juicy while maintaining their crisp, fresh bite.
- Peeling and cutting up the stems takes advantage of every part of the broccoli.
- A bold pistachio-and-basil dressing stands up to the hearty salad ingredients.
- Blending vegetable oil at high speed won't create bitter flavors the way olive oil does; adding the olive oil after introduces its flavor.
- 3 pounds broccoli, stems peeled and cut into thin strips, florets reserved
- 1 cup roasted shelled pistachios (2 ounces; 60g), divided
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar (45ml)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (5ml)
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (120ml)
- 5 large basil leaves
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (60ml), divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (10-ounce; 280g) head radicchio, quartered, cored, and leaves cut into wide strips
- Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish
Prepare an ice bath. In a medium or large pot of salted boiling water and working in batches, cook broccoli florets until just barely softened and bright green, 1 minute. Using a strainer, transfer immediately to ice bath and repeat with remaining broccoli florets.
Once broccoli is fully chilled, drain very well.
Meanwhile, in a blender, combine 1/4 cup (1/2 ounce; 15g) of the toasted pistachios with vinegar, Dijon, garlic, and vegetable oil. Blend at high speed, stopping to scrape down the blender jar sides if necessary, until pistachios are mostly pureed with only some small chunks left. Add basil leaves and blend until finely chopped. Add olive oil and blend at the slowest speed until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.
Lightly crush or chop remaining pistachios. In a large salad bowl, combine drained broccoli florets, broccoli stems, crushed pistachios, radicchio, and a generous shaving of Parmesan cheese. Stir dressing well (or mix it briefly in the blender at slow speed to stir), then add just enough to lightly coat all the salad ingredients. Toss well and season with salt and pepper. If more dressing is needed, add more. Top with more fresh shavings of PArmesan and serve.