A burst of broccoli from the garden this past couple of weeks is wrapping up my green vegetable season now that the frost we had killed off the squashes and beans. Sadly enough, I forgot to plant Brussels sprouts in time this summer to have any this fall and winter, though I have a few handsome cabbages to put down cellar.
In the midst of this broccoli plenitude, my fellow historian pal Nancy Alexander of Ellsworth and Islesboro came for supper one evening. I fully intended to give her that broccoli salad made with onion, raisins and bacon with a mayo, brown sugar and vinegar dressing, the recipe for which I put in this column a couple years ago. But then Nancy told me about the dish that follows, and without having a written recipe at hand, we cobbled together a fair facsimile of the official version.
The surprise here is how well the tarragon works with the cabbage flavor of broccoli. I am a relatively recent tarragon convert, and it doesn’t always occur to me to use it even though I grow it. Also, I like having a dressing made partially with yogurt. When Nancy and I assembled the salad sans recipe, we forgot the lemon juice, and even though yogurt has an agreeable sourness and our salad tasted deliciously, the lemon improves the dressing a good deal.
Nancy thinks that the broccoli salad would be good served warm or chilled. I bet she’s right.
Tarragon Broccoli Salad
Serves four to six
2 heads of fresh broccoli
Juice of 2 lemons
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup thick yogurt
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh or ½ teaspoon dried tarragon
1 small red onion or a couple shallots finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Trim the broccoli and peel and cut stem into julienne piece. Steam the broccoli until it is tender. Plunge it into cold water directly from the heat and drain. Mix all the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl and toss the broccoli with the dressing and serve.