When I was a teenager I would get horrible monosodium glutamate headaches after going to a Chinese restaurant. When I started getting them at home, I looked in the kitchen cabinets and found the culprit-"Accent" a brand name for MSG that unfortunately truly did make the flavors in a dish sing. Mama was pretty sure I was imagining the cause of my headaches because she had been putting the stuff in virtually everything for years. I was all self righteous teenage certainty and strong armed her to stop using it.
Now, I loved Mama's broccoli salad obsessively
- its what I'd want her to make every time she gave me a choice-I once ate an entire serving bowl of it at one time.(I was 9 months pregnant at the time. Nevertheless- a little over the top.) In my own kitchen, I would carefully follow her steps to prepare it- pretty simple stuff- but it was just never as good as hers. I put it down to Mama Magic. A couple of years after her death, I mentioned to my father that I couldn't ever get that salad right . "Well, how are you making it?" I went through the steps. "Oh, no wonder,you're leaving out the pinch of Knorr dried chicken soup" Now, Mama and I had full disclosure on recipes so I couldn't figure out how she could forget that ingredient.And what a bizarre thing to put in a salad dressing. When I looked at the instant soup ingredient list I understood:MSG is in there. She had followed my demands to stop using Accent, but had figured if it wasn't actually called that, it wasn't technically verboten. And, boy does it make a difference in the salad. I don't like using additives but for this salad, all bets off.
Boil a head of broccoli until it loses its bright green color. This is not a crunchy salad-no resistance. Drain and wait till it is absolutely cool, and then drench it in this dressing: pour out some olive oil in a bowl,smash some garlic cloves and let that sit at least an hour. Fish out the garlic and add lemon juice,salt, cracked pepper and about 1/4 teaspoon Knorr chicken bouillon.Beat with a fork till its emulified. You're going to have to play with the amounts of lemon and oil to your taste. Let the broccoli marinate for a bit, and really, you can't drench it too much-- we're already throwing caution to the wind on this one.I hope you love this as much as I do. And, you know what? I never do get a headache from it.