Broccoli Salad with Whipped Goats Cheese, Homemade Salad Cream and Toasted Pine Nuts
Portion/Yield:Serves 6 as starter or light meal
This dish is a wonderful celebration of broccoli. The broccoli is cooked and prepared in different ways, creating a variety of textures. It is then served with delicious homemade salad cream and whipped goat’s cheese, and finally finished with a flurry of toasted pine nuts. The accompanying video shows how to use the entire broccoli head, stalks and florets, plus how to plate up this beautiful dish.
Ingredients & Method
For the salad cream
- 1 large raw egg yolk
- 1 large hard-boiled egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon golden syrup
- 125ml rapeseed oil
- 75ml double cream
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
For the whipped goat’s cheese
- 200g soft mild (rindless) goat’s cheese
- 50ml double cream
- finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
For the broccoli
- 2 heads of broccoli (remove 6 spears, all the florets and the stalks as per the video; the spears are battered, the florets are used for pickling, and the stalks are griddled)
For the battered broccoli
- 125g self-raising flour
- 125ml ale
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 6 spears of broccoli (cut from the 2 broccoli heads)
- sunflower oil, for deep-frying
For the pickled broccoli florets
- 150ml white wine vinegar
- 150g caster sugar
- 5 of each coriander seeds, whole cloves, black peppercorns and white peppercorns
- a sprig of fresh thyme
- 1 star anise
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- broccoli florets (cut from the 2 broccoli heads)
For the charred broccoli stalks
- broccoli stalks (from the 2 broccoli heads), peeled and shaped (as per the video)
- 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
First make the salad cream. Place all the ingredients, apart from the rapeseed oil and cream, in a bowl or food processor and whisk or process until smooth. Slowly add the oil to form an emulsion, whisking or processing continuously until all the oil is incorporated and a thick salad cream has formed. In a separate small bowl, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks, then whisk the cream into the salad cream until incorporated. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Transfer the salad cream to a squeezy bottle and refrigerate until needed.
Next prepare the whipped goat’s cheese. Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and attach the balloon whisk (or do this by hand), then whisk together until smooth and combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the whipped goat’s cheese to a piping bag (fitted with a large plain nozzle, if using a nozzle) and refrigerate until needed.
Now prepare the broccoli as per the video. Remove 6 spears and all the florets, then peel the stalks for griddling (making sure they are all about the same thickness all over). Set aside.
Next make the batter for the battered broccoli. Put the flour in a bowl, then whisk in the ale and soy sauce until smooth and combined. Leave to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. The batter should be a thick coating consistency (it will thicken slightly as it stands).
Meanwhile, make the pickling liquid for the pickled broccoli florets. Place all the ingredients, apart from the broccoli florets, in a medium saucepan and cook over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 6–8 minutes until thickened and glossy. Remove from the heat, then stir in the broccoli florets. Set aside to cool and pickle whilst cooking the broccoli stalks.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas Mark 4. To char the broccoli stalks, heat a ridged griddle pan over a high heat until hot. Place the peeled stalks on the hot griddle pan and cook until dark bar marks appear all over, turning often, about 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a roasting tray, add seasoning, then cook in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and then drizzle over the rapeseed oil (refer to the video). Set the charred stalks aside while finishing the remaining elements of the dish.
To cook the battered broccoli, heat some sunflower oil in an electric deep-fat fryer or in a deep frying pan to a temperature of 160°C (or until a small piece of bread browns within 20 seconds in the hot oil). Briefly whisk the batter to mix, then dip each broccoli spear in the batter until completely coated. Deep-fry (in batches) in the hot oil for 4–6 minutes, turning regularly, until cooked, crisp and golden – you will need to deep-fry the battered broccoli in two batches.
Remove the crispy broccoli using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper, then keep warm while you cook the remainder (they need to be served soon after frying, as they will go soggy after about 15–20 minutes). Season with salt.
To serve, refer to the video. Squeeze the salad cream into a spiral on each plate, then slice the charred broccoli stalks and place slices on the plates. Add some drained pickled florets to each serving and then pipe the whipped goat’s cheese on the plates. Place a battered broccoli spear on each plate, then finally sprinkle over the toasted pine nuts and serve.