The minute I get a new cookbook, I love to flip through the pages and pick out a couple of recipes that inspire me. I recently picked up a copy of Carla Lalli Music’s new book Where Cooking Begins (which is fabulous, by the way!) One of the first recipes that caught my eye was the Charred Broccoli Salad. I had been looking for something light and vegetarian to serve at my next dinner party and this seemed like the perfect place to start!

Carla’s broccoli salad has all of the elements you could want in a vegetable dish. Once you get your cast iron pan nice and hot, you’ll add in the oil (I used grapeseed oil because of the high smoke point) and place the seasoned broccoli heads (lightly peeled and halved lengthwise) into the skillet. Carla’s recipe suggests that you take the broccoli out of the pan when it’s browned, but still crunchy. The char gives the broccoli a wonderful smokiness! 

While the broccoli is still in the pan, drizzle a little bit of tangy apple cider vinegar on top, along with the chopped dates, cheddar cheese and chopped Marcona almonds. Of course, don’t forget to season everything with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Even though the recipe suggests using an aged cheese, if you have it, I used a regular pre-grated cheddar mix and it worked out great! Toss it all together and finish the dish with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil.

When you’re finished, you’ll have a broccoli dish that’s crunchy, tangy, sweet and well-seasoned. This dish looks so beautiful when it’s plated. I can promise you, you’ll see this dish on my dining room table all summer long. Thanks, Carla!

If you’ve tried Carla’s recipe, or plan on it after reading this, please comment below and let us know your thoughts!