- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It’s wintertime, and I know the one vegetable that will look great in the produce section and be welcome on the dinner plate: broccoli.

My children like it briefly steamed, tossed with a little butter and salt, and I feel good about serving it.

If you’ve ever been to a potluck supper, you’ve tasted a broccoli salad.

That’s because broccoli salad goes with so many different foods, including sliced ham, fried chicken, roast turkey, even steaks on the grill.

The sweet-and-sour combination of bacon, vinegar and sugar is a classic salad dressing, perfect for pairing with the broccoli along with onion and shredded cheddar.

If it strikes your fancy, you can also add raisins, dried cherries or sunflower seeds to the salad.

Bags of broccoli florets are available in the produce department of many supermarkets.

You will need about 3 cups of florets. I like raw broccoli florets because they save time. But if you prefer lightly steamed florets in this salad, plunge them into boiling water until they are bright green, 1 or 2 minutes, then immerse them in a bowl of ice water to cool off.

Sweet-and-sour broccoli salad

The preparation time is 10 to 12 minutes.

10 slices of bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 bunch of broccoli

½ cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

½ cup chopped onion

½ cup preshredded sharp cheddar cheese

Place the bacon in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the bacon until it is crisp on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes, then drain it on paper towels. Crumble the bacon into a small bowl and set aside.

Cut the florets off the broccoli stalks. Break or cut the florets into small pieces; reserve the stalks for another use.

Place the mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar in a large mixing bowl.

Whisk to combine.

Add the broccoli florets, onion, cheese and crumbled bacon. Stir until all of the ingredients are coated with dressing.

Serve the salad at once or cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to 3 days.

Makes 6 servings.

To share favorite cooking tips, ask questions and access Anne Byrn’s free online newsletter, go to www.cakemixdoctor.com.

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