Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday's Twist: Thai Broccoli Salad

Tuesday's Twist:  A basic recipe with a fun twist.  In other words, just another excuse for me to play around with weird recipes I've been dying to try. 

This recipe probably fits better under Weird Recipe Wednesday than Tuesday's Twist, but I had most of the ingredients on hand and it didn't require turning on the oven or standing over the stove on a hot day.  Your typical broccoli salad has bacon, mayonnaise, raisins and sunflower seeds.  This version plays off of Thai flavors by combining broccoli with red onion, fresh mint and chopped peanuts.  Instead of mayonnaise the dressing is flavored with lime juice and fish sauce.

Sometimes I file away a recipe to try only to come back to it thinking, "ummm, why did I save this and why was I so excited to try it out?"  Pretty sure those are the recipes I find when I'm hungry and lots of stuff looks good.  Don't go grocery shopping on an empty stomach and don't drool over recipes or crazy ideas when you're hungry.  If you really want to clean out your recipe file, do it when you're full.  When I came back to this recipe I was a little more skeptical than the first time I saw it, but I figured I'd give it a shot.  

Maybe I set it aside because it has fresh mint and we have an abundance growing in the flower garden.    The mint rarely gets used but I can change that without too much effort.  If only basil grew that easily.   But back to the salad.  I didn't have any fish sauce on hand but, being as I'm unfamiliar with it, I didn't know of a good substitution.  I gave in and bought a bottle even though the recipe only calls for a tablespoon.  If you ever need fish sauce just let me know, there's no way I'll ever go through the entire bottle.  Let's just say it definitely smells like fish, fermented fish. I think the aroma got to me while I was chopping up the ingredients, thus leaving me with a less than impressed opinion on this salad.

I had a hard time trying to figure out how to describe the salad.  I was expecting the flavors to come together and enhance each other. Instead of a cohesive dish it was more like "oh now I am eating broccoli with a peanut, now broccoli with mint and this bite is broccoli with lime and fish flavor, oh wait, is that red onion? okay now I feel a little heat from the red pepper."  Perhaps it would have been better if the salad marinated in the dressing longer (adding the nuts later of course to keep them crunchy).  Or maybe my senses were just distracted from the fish odor earlier.  Personally I wasn't too fond of this one, but to each his own. That's all I've got, you'll have to try it out for yourself if you want any more details.

Thai Broccoli Salad
slightly adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

4 cups bite-sized broccoli florets
1-1/2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1-1/2 tsp Splenda or sugar
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped red onions
1/4 cup chopped mint leaves
1/4 cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped

* Wash broccoli florets and place in medium bowl.  Set aside.
* In a small bowl combine lime juice, fish sauce, Splenda and red pepper flakes.  Pour over broccoli and toss to coat.
* Sprinkle red onion, mint and peanuts over salad and toss to distribute.

Food for Thought: "The prettiest smiles hide the deepest secrets. The prettiest eyes have cried the most tears. And the kindest hearts have felt the most pain." -unknown

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