Earlier this week I had some lady friends over for dinner. I enjoy cooking for other people, but it’s definitely a bit of a challenge to make things that will please all taste preferences.
If you're over the age of five, there's a good chance you're alright with broccoli and everyone loves the flavor of leeks, even if they've never technically purchased one. So we're off to a good start with this one...
You can only cram so much on the grill, so these veggies are fit for the oven. If the chopping is done before hand, this salad requires little time and attention while you are finishing the rest of your meal. As far as entertaining goes, I like to make things that I can prepare as much as possible ahead of time, so I don't have to leave friends to work. Not only was this big bowl of green-ness a crowd pleaser, but it saves well, so you can throw in a protein of choice and take it for lunch. I had enough leftover to fill a family size tupperware and ate the entire thing the following day. True story, I am a known veggie-binger.
I improved the original with a bit of good quality feta cheese. It's pretty salty, so no need to add salt elsewhere. I'll say it again, using good ingredients yields a better end product. I don’t consider myself a brand snob, but sometimes the generic grocery store cheese will not suffice. And neither will their yogurt, salad dressing, pesto or dark chocolate. or ice cream. OK...only sometimes a brand snob.
EMERALD SALAD // Serves 4
1 lb. Broccolini
1 lb. Broccoli
1 Lemon, zest and juice
1 Large Leek
3 tbsp. Olive Oil
2 tsp. Black Pepper
3 Cloves Garlic
6 oz. (about 3 Cups) Fresh Spinach, roughly chopped
3/4 Cup Flat Leaf Parsley, Chopped
3/4 Cup Sliced Almonds, toasted
1/2 Cup Feta Cheese
Oven set to 475'
1. Cut the broccoli and broccolini into roughly two inch chunks, on a bias. Using the white and light green parts of the leek, slice length wise and rinse out the dirt. Slice thin. Toss the veggies with the olive oil, pepper and lemon zest.
2. Slice the garlic cloves as thin as possible, no mincing. Add the broccoli mix to a large roasting pan. You don't want to cram them in a dish as they will end up steaming in their own moisture. Give them space. Sprinkle the garlic slices on top so they feel the direct heat in the oven.
3. At this point, you could cover and wait until you're getting ready to eat. Or, pop that pan on the top rack of the oven for 12 minutes.
4. Pull out the baking pan, and toss in the spinach, almonds, parsley and lemon juice. Toss in the pan so the heat wilts the spinach and the dressing it's created, distributes. Put in your serving dish and crumble the feta cheese on top.
* This may seem like a lot of parsley, but it's a lot of broccoli. I tend to make things how I like them, use less if you're not partial to the parsley kick. You and Hugh can be friends.
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