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Anyone have a recipe for broccoli slaw — sans the 'treetops'?

Dsc00948So I'm having dinner with some friends at Shillelagh's,  a new restaurant at East 4th Street and Temple Avenue in Long Beach. It's in an up-and-coming part of the downtown area right next door to a pool hall, which makes it sound grungy but actually lends a little something  to the casual atmosphere. (This is, after all, the LBC.) The menu has a little bit of everything — burgers, salads, pastas, some seafood dishes, etc. I went with the BBQ burger because it came with something called "broccoli slaw." Never heard of that before. When the burger arrived — with thick slab onion rings on top!!! — I peered down at the plate. Um.

"Where's the broccoli slaw?" I asked the waitress. She pointed to my side dish. (Clearly, she'd had this question before.)

Turns out Shillelagh's makes its slaw by turning broccoli stalks into a julienne, then tossing them in a light, tangy dressing. No "treetops" in sight. I tried to detect where the sweetness was coming from — this is definitely a dish I'd like to try to duplicate at home. "Uh-oh," my husband said, rolling his eyes. "She's trying to reverse-engineer it."

At one point, I thought I'd narrowed it down to maple syrup. But who puts maple syrup on broccoli — am I right?

Turns out owner Donnie Larson does. He was kind enough to confirm that when he stopped by the table to see how our meal had been. He also told us that the chard on my friend's plate had been handpicked that afternoon from a garden just up the street. I was thrilled at finding a new neighborhood restaurant, and figuring out a secret ingredient. It was like winning the Quick Fire challenge on "Top Chef." Only there was no Padma. (Too bad for my husband.)

Now I just need some help figuring out the rest of that dish. Anyone out there have a recipe that comes close to this description?

— Rene Lynch

Photo by Ron Joseph

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Hi Renee,

You may know this already but Trader Joes sells a precut "Broccoli Slaw" that I have used as a cabbage slaw alternative. It has a bit of julienned carrot in it as well and not a "tree top" in the pack. I alternate between 2 dressings. One is the more classic cole slaw recipe with a generous tablespoon of homemade mayo, 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, a teaspoon of sugar, salt and pepper to taste. The other is sweeter, starting with the generous tablespoon of homemade mayo, 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons of mesquite honey, 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Hope this helps!

I couldn't tell you what's *on* the slaw, but Trader Joe's sells bags of "naked" broccoli slaw that you could dress up however you like.

I've had a similar salad from the deli at Ralph's Market. They throw in some dried cranberries for a little extra sweetness.


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