Sometimes I end up at the market without having thought of eating before I get there.
It’s been a busy morning, time has gotten away from me, and editing photos of food, or reading and writing about food hasn’t been a great substitute for actually remembering to eat. Ending up at the market hungry is not a good thing for my wallet or my posterior, so I fend off the cravings until I find myself looking at the salads in the deli case trying to decide which of them is least toxic. They seem fine based on the cursory primping someone has taken time to do, with veggies artfully arranged, and a serving spoon carefully inserted at a jaunty angle. I’ve barely scanned the case before a helpful person asks whether I’d like to taste something.
I wave aside the offer of a taste and instead, request a small cup full of broccoli salad. It’s fairly green, shows evidence of other veggies in the mix — maybe some seeds as well — and doesn’t appear to be drowning in mayo which is certain death for any salad I’m considering.
The clerk seems surprised by my lack of interest in a sample tasting, but fills the small container with a scoop of the chopped salad I pointed to, and sends me on my way with a fork and a napkin. As soon as the groceries are in the car, I pop the lid and take a bite, not expecting the sweetness. It’s not too sweet, but I’m already pushing away thoughts of Miracle Whip, wondering if it’s an ingredient — just about the only thing worse than mayo overkill in a salad. As I chew, I notice other flavors like chopped dried cranberries and sunflower seeds. Minced red onion. Definitely sweetness coming from whatever the light dressing was, but without the greasiness that I think mayo can leave in a salad.
It was good. Still a bit sweet for me, but pleasant enough to help save me from expiring from hunger in the market parking lot so I could get home and do some searching about broccoli salad.
Of course, it’s all over the Internet.
It’s a perfect salad for now, easy to make, and doesn’t have to be unhealthy if you use less sweetener, cut way back on the mayo, and think about getting the right balance of flavors and textures in every bite.
It’s even better when you make it ahead.
But you probably already knew that, right?