Thursday, January 3, 2013

Broccoli Salad with Hazelnut Mayonaise

December 29th was the final Christmas feast of 2012 hosted by my cousin Sarah.  Whew!  Another eating season over and this last meal was a great way to finish it off.  My sister turned veggie this year and my Uncle and Aunt are also veggie so Sarah decided to make a veggie Christmas dinner.  The side dish was a broccoli salad with cranberries, red onion, cheddar cheese and a crunchy nut of some kind.  It had a mayonnaise dressing which offset the sweet cranberries and raw broccoli beautifully.  I loved it so much that I wanted to make some the following night for my own dinner.

I changed the recipe a touch and decided to make my own mayonnaise for the dressing.

Mayonnaise is a traditional french sauce though most people in North America, when they hear the word, think of jarred commercial mayonnaise.  Hellman's and Miracle Whip are NOT mayonnaise.  Seriously.  Real mayonnaise is delicate and silky held together with raw egg yolk and patient whisking.  It doesn't sit upright when spooned onto a plate preferring to lounge instead, a smooth pool of nutty richness.

Please note that hand mixing is essential.

Mayonnaise Ingredients
  • 1 egg yolk, organic with the outer shell of the egg washed
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • A tiny pinch of salt (you will adjust later to taste)
  • 1/2 cup of hazelnut oil
I like to use a raw egg yolk.  None of this partial cooking or pasteurized liquid egg products, just a beautiful yellow yolk sitting in the bottom of my bowl.  To this add your vinegar and a pinch of salt, whisking well.  Now you need to blend your oil with your yolk and by beginning slowly, not overwhelming the yolk with oil, it becomes able to handle far more oil than if you had rushed the process.  Patience is key.  

Add your oil drop by drop, whisking the whole time.  Once a third of the oil is incorporated in this fashion (according to The Joy of Cooking), you can begin to pour the oil in a thin stream making sure to continue whisking.  After the oil is completely incorporated, taste for salt and adjust.  The recipe I followed in The Joy mentioned adding a touch of mustard at this step and you could, if your choice of oil is underwhelming.  I used a beautiful, organic locally-pressed hazelnut oil from Canadian Hazelnut Inc. so I decided to leave the mustard out.

Cover your mayonnaise and place in the refrigerator as you prepare the rest of the salad.

Salad Ingredients
  • Hazelnut Mayonnaise from recipe above
  • 2 heads of broccoli with stems attached, about four cups
  • 1/2 a red onion, sliced into thin strips
  • 3/4 cup of whole hazelnuts
  • 1 cup of dried sweetened cranberries
  • Salt to taste

1. Put the whole hazelnuts into a heavy bottomed saucepan and toast on medium heat until roasty toasty but not burnt.  Shake the pan frequently to prevent said burning.  This should take under fifteen minutes.  Let the nuts cool and then either chop or crush.  Keep the chunks of a decent size.

2. Chop the broccoli into 1/2 inch pieces and throw into a large bowl.  Add the toasted hazelnuts, the red onion and the cranberries.  Pour the entire bowl of hazelnut mayonnaise into the bowl and stir well. Add a good amount of salt and stir again.  The salt will pull some of the moisture out of the veggies making the salad juicier so I like to let it sit for about half an hour in the fridge before serving.  Stir well again and let it come to room temperature to serve.

The Verdict

I love the hazelnut mayonnaise.  The oil is made from raw hazelnuts so the flavour isn't overwhelming, but wonderfully subtle.  The toasted hazelnuts add another layer of hazelnut flavour and I just love the nuts against the sweetness of the cranberries and crunchiness of the broccoli.  I will mention that the raw onion is strong so if you are about to go out for a night on the town or have a make out session with your lover, you might want to skip it.  Just sayin'.

Coming Up?  Something offal related.  Perhaps a pig's head or liver, tune in to find out!


Shonagh explores the guts of food in An Offal Experiment.


  1. I wonder what this would taste like on brussels sprouts?

    1. I like the way you think! It should be delicious. You could do a cold version in the summer like a coleslaw.

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