Food

Broccoli & Bean Salad Like You’ve Never Had

Written by: Ben Orkin

broc-salad-half broc-salad

So the inspiration behind this salad is rather strange.

At my school, there is a group of 5 teachers who have what they call a Salad Club where they basically take turns making salad for each other. Each day, one teacher will make a salad for the whole group and I think that it is seriously awesome.

Anyway, I heard about it last year but it escaped my mind until this past Friday. My Afrikaans (one of the languages of South Africa) teacher was away somewhere and so we had a substitute teacher who brought along with her this rather large dish. The substitute was quite a trendy looking lady. She wore a black jumpsuit with a brown leather belt and one of those beaded wood necklaces, which matched the colour of the belt. She had a leather backpack with another trendy bag. We had been given work to complete, but it was the last lesson on a Friday and very hot. We asked the substitute teacher what was in her dish because it looked very heavy. She told us that she was apart of the Salad Club and that this was her contribution. She opened the dish (it had a lid) and showed us what was inside. When she opened her dish, the smell of charred vegetables was so alluring. She had chargrilled a whole bunch of different vegetables, eggplant, peppers, and broccoli.

broccoli-linen

At this point all I wanted was to be apart of the salad club.

She asked if we would like to try her salad. The idea of sharing her salad was amazing, but I’m not one for picking from salads without appropriate cutlery and plates, but I tried it anyway. I went for the broccoli and it was literally a life changing moment. Before then, I had only ever tasted flavourless boiled or steamed broccoli, the kind you dread as a child. This literally tasted like nothing that I had ever tasted before. It had a very sweet, smoky flavour and quite a crunchy texture. I thought it was tossed in some fancy dressing, but when I asked her, she told me she had actually done the opposite. She heated some olive oil until very hot and then placed broccoli into it, covered with a lid, and let it do its thing. That way it gets steamed with a beautiful charred crust (the smoky flavour). Then she simply removed it from the heat, sprinkled on some Maldon sea salt, and a little olive oil. Who would have thought you could learn such useful stuff at school?

pan-broc

I was shocked and amazed at the flavours she was able to create with a vegetable I thought I knew well. I came home and I made this salad.

This is the perfect summer salad. It’s light and can be knocked together in minutes. It’s filled with all kinds of beautiful ingredients including smoky broccoli, lemon zest, butter beans, baby tomatoes, and a simple dressing.

nearly-finished-broc-sal

Broccoli & Butter Bean Salad

Serves 4 people

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 bunch of broccoli, broken up into pieces
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 cup butter beans (I used tinned and then rinsed them)

Dressing:

  • juice of half a lemon
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

raw-broc

Method:

Place a frying pan over a high heat and leave for a minute to heat up. Add your oil to the pan. Next, place your broccoli into the pan along with the lemon zest. Immediately cover with a lid and leave to cook for about 2 minutes. After two minutes, remove the lid and toss the broccoli around. Cover again and leave to cook for a further 30 seconds to a minute.

Once the broccoli has cooked, it will be a bright green colour with dark char marks. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with sea salt.

broc-on-plate

Place all of your ingredients into a bowl and toss them around so that the dressing mixes with the other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.

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Serve.

Originally Posted on Ben’s Kitchen Blog

Happy cooking!
–Ben
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