Broccoli is a reliable winter vegetable, but it's a less obvious seasonal choice in the spring. Too bad, because spring is when broccoli is harvested locally and shows up in farmers markets.
At first the salad ingredients may seem like an odd hodgepodge, but the combination of textures, colors and flavors meld to create a harmonious fusion.
- 1 pound broccoli florets, broken into bite-size pieces
- Leaves from about 9 stems parsley, chopped (1/3 cup)
- Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon (1 tablespoon; reserve remaining lemon for another use)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
- 1/2 pint strawberries, cut into thin slices (1 scant cup)
- 1/4 cup blanched, slivered almonds, toasted (see NOTE)
- 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
- 3 cups cooked red quinoa
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Carefully drop the broccoli florets into the boiling water. Cook for about 3 minutes until just tender. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water until the broccoli cools down. Spread the cooked, cooled broccoli florets out to dry on a clean dish towel.
Combine the parsley, lemon zest, honey, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste in a large salad bowl; stir to combine. Slowly whisk the oil into the vinegar mixture. Add the broccoli florets; toss gently to coat. Add the sliced strawberries, toasted almonds and crumbled cheese; toss gently to combine.
To serve, place a 1/2 cup of quinoa on each plate and top with a serving of the broccoli salad.
NOTE: Toast the almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat; it should take about 4 minutes for the nuts to pick up a light brown color.
From Cynthia A. Brown, assistant director at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria.
Tested by Cynthia A. Brown.
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