Sunday, September 20, 2009

Broccoli, Apple and Curried Sunflower Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

Although saying farewell to summer can be difficult, my love for apples eases the seasonal shift. I love apples more than any other fruit but my passion for Honeycrisp Apples specifically is strong. I think Honeycrisps do particularly well in salads for they don't brown quickly and their crunchiness adds substantial texture.

I whipped this salad up on a whim and sometimes, things just turn out right. I'm mainly pleased with these curried sunflower seeds I made for I love the faintly exotic taste curry powder imparts to any dish. I can tell you that I ate quite a few of these seeds before they even made it into the salad.

The dressing is an old favorite of mine that I originally discovered in the Joy of Cooking. I have tweaked it a bit over the years to suit my tastes and I think it really works as an all-purpose tangy, creamy dressing.

To serve 4-6:
  • 1 small head romaine
  • 1 small head broccoli, trimmed into small florets
  • 1 honeycrisp apple, diced small
  • A handful of dried currants
  • Curried Sunflower Seeds*
  • Buttermilk Dressing*

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the broccoli florets. Blanch for 1 minute and transfer to an icewater bath. Once cool, drain thoroughly in a colander.

Tear the romaine into pieces and place into a large bowl. Add the apple, broccoli, and the currants and sunflower seeds to taste. Toss thoroughly. Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss again. Serve immediately.

*Curried Sunflower Seeds:

  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

In a small bowl, sit together the sugar, curry powder and salt. Set a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sunflower seeds and the sugar mixture. Stirring constantly, allow the seeds to be thoroughly coated in the caramelizing sugar, about 2 minutes. Take off the heat and spread the seeds out on a piece of wax paper to cool.

*Buttermilk Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 a small shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients in a blender and thoroughly blend until emulsified and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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