broccoli cheddar salad with bacon
I’ve been thinking a lot about my Grandmother lately. She passed away two years ago this month. Saying she was a really great cook is sort of an understatement. My sister and I were lucky enough to go through her recipe files shortly after she died. Sitting in her giant kitchen, surrounded by cherry red co-ordinating Kitchen-Aid appliances and silicone spatulas, I felt like we were paying culinary homage to her. It was so incredible to see, tucked between the recipes, the notes she had taken for dinner parties and fabulously elegant receptions. Lists of guests and menus. I wanted to know what the heck “Surprise Salad” was. Plus files and files of deliciously gourmet recipes. She had a fondness for Julia Child, Gourmet Magazine, anything creamy and all things cheesy. Without a doubt, she is the reason my mom became such a good cook, and my sister and I have moved on to careers in food.
Gramma Ginger lived in west Texas but came up to Vermont in the summer time. She waited all year to make certain recipes here in Vermont that she wouldn’t make in Texas. For example, she didn’t make Macaroni and Cheese in Texas because she couldn’t buy Vermont Cheddar down in west Texas. So she figured she just wouldn’t bother because she knew it wouldn’t taste as good with a more mild cheese. She knew that Vermont Cheddar, in specific Shelburne Farms Cheddar, was in a league of it’s own when it came to sharp cheesiness, and her Mac and Cheese just wouldn’t be the same. Here I used it in another summertime family favorite, broccoli cheddar salad with bacon. The broccoli is raw and crunchy, the bacon is salty and smoky, and the sharp cheddar is tangy and well, sharp. The combination is one we come back to every summer, and it always makes me think of Gramma Ginger. Happy cooking Gramma!
Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Makes: 6 servings
Serving Size: 1 cup
- 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1 shallot, minced
- 5 cups chopped raw broccoli
- 1 cup finely chopped fennel bulb
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, preferably Vermont cheddar
- 1/3 cup “lite” sour cream
- 1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons brown mustard
- 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Mix bacon, shallot, broccoli, fennel and cheddar in a large bowl. Whisk lite sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a a small bowl. Add dressing to broccoli mixture and toss to combine.