What’s cooking today: Macaroni salad
A bit of blanching, some chopping, and small pasta that’s been cooked al dente and drained. Add mayo and you have a pleasant side dish for the braai.
Did you spot the clever April Fool’s prank by Nomu, the manufacturers of classy stocks and who recently introduced their “Mayu” to fill the gap vacated by Unilever’s Hellmann’s mayonnaise?
It struck the perfect balance for an April Fool’s joke: just credible enough to be real, but right on the edge of just as easily being a prank. They nearly fooled me but I did wonder, so I WhatsApped co-owner Paul Raphaely who cleared the prankish air for me. They have no interest in entering the fish paste market, so “Wedwu” fish paste will not be appearing on your supermarket shelf.
I used some of their Mayu in this dish which is not your conventional hot pasta, but a salad. Either use cold pasta left over from the day before, or boil some macaroni or other small pasta and build the salad up from there.
Broccoli is more versatile than we think. For a pasta salad, we can discard all the stalks and stems, everything in fact except the tiny little buds that make up the florets. That’s what we’ll be using in this salad, alongside lots of garlic and finely chopped coriander leaves and stems. And there’s no need to discard all the stems every time you cook or garnish with coriander. They have a stronger flavour than the leaves and, chopped finely, they can be an ingredient in their own right.
(Serves 4 to 8 as a side dish)
150 g macaroni
1 head of broccoli
1 cup of chopped coriander leaves and stems
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 heaped Tbsp Mayu mayonnaise or other brand (though most likely not Hellmann’s)
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Cook the macaroni in plenty of rapidly boiling water until al dente, drain, and then run cold water through it. You would never do this when preparing a hot pasta dish (rinsing off the starch is anathema to an Italian cook) but it’s necessary if you are going to use the pasta cold, immediately, as I was when making this salad. Then drain well.
Slice off the broccoli stalks and then cut away as much of the stems as you can. Bring plenty of water to a boil, then add the broccoli florets and blanche for a minute. Refresh under cold running water, and drain.
Anchor each blanched floret on a board and slice off all the little buds. Discard everything except those little buds.
Chop washed and dried coriander stems and leaves. Chop the garlic.
Add these ingredients to the pasta in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and toss well with two wooden spoons. Add the Mayu and toss it through. DM/TGIFood
Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.
This dish is photographed in a bowl by Mervyn Gers Ceramics.