Not sure why, but I almost never buy cabbage to use as a salad green. It's a shame really because it can add such great color and crunch to lots of salad preparations, and so shouldn't be reserved for just making slaws or braising. For those of you who have only had cabbage cooked to within an inch of it's life in a boiled dinner, or served up along side some bratwurst, this dish will be a revelation for you. Raw cabbage is a crunchy treat that you'll find yourself adding to all sorts of salads to give them some structure.
A few weeks back I made a mondo batch of my Food52 friend Midge's awesome Okonomiyaki (I must post these one day), and decided to make this terrific cabbage based salad as a side-dish with the balance of the cabbage not used in the pancakes. Most of the gang at the table were suspect, not used to seeing so much purple in a salad before, but ended up loving the dish because in the end the cabbage isn't the star of the salad, just the foundation that supports so many other great flavors and textures. The dressing for the salad is top-notch, make extra to keep on hand for other Asian inspired salads, or to use as a drizzle over some freshly grilled fish!
This recipe is an adaptation of one I recently saw in Bon Appétit magazine. The original was an entrée salad that included shredded chicken which I eliminated in my version. I also added some toasted sesame oil because I just love the stuff.
Cheers – Steve
- 2 teaspoons red chili paste (such as sambal olek)
- scant 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce (nam pla)
- 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
- kosher salt to taste
- 1/2 small head red cabbage, thinly sliced (about 5-6 cups)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
- 6 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 cups baby spinach, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
- 1/3 cup chopped peanuts
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, roasted
- Whisk first 8 ingredients together in large bowl, season to taste with salt. Add cabbage, carrots, scallions, spinach, and cilantro; toss to coat. Check for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.
- Serve the salad onto 4-6 plates and top with the cilantro, peanuts and sesame seeds.