Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lime and Chile Red Cabbage Salad

I was a picky eater as a child - no pasta, no eggs, no condiments of any sort, no food touching each other on my plate. It made my mother insane, which she never fails to remind me and I never fail to apologize for. What I did eat, by the bowlful, was salad, lots and lots and lots of salad.

Salad was a nightly ritual in our house when I was growing up. It was the 1970s so salad was mainly composed of iceberg lettuce, with the addition of romaine since my father loved it. Lettuce was all fine and good but as the self-proclaimed rabbit of the family, I was always gnawing on raw vegetables - celery, carrots, bell peppers, cabbage - and when I could get away with it, dipping said veggies into my mother's homemade vinaigrette and not even bothering to toss them together in a semblance of a salad. Even in high school at an all girls' high school I braved ridicule and scorn from the lunch table for my rabbit food. Flash forward to living on my own and salad rarely includes lettuce on my table. Give me crunchy, hearty salads full of color, crunch and zippy dressings and eating satisfaction is guaranteed.

One of the best food compliments I once received was when a friend told me, "I don't like vegetables, except when you make them." She was referring to a green and red cabbage slaw with a simple Asian style dressing, similar to Asian Salad with Mandarin Oranges. Cabbage is often my base in making a salad and red cabbage is so pretty that I reach for it before green. As a parsley- and cilantro-aholic, those herbs (or greens as I think of them) usually get added to my salads as well. Lime is my preferred citrus taste which is why this recipe includes both the zest and juice of limes. The simpler the dressing, the more the flavors of the vegetables shine through, which to me is the whole point of a salad.

You could easily add a handful of nuts (walnuts, cashews, almonds) to bulk up this salad, or even a few crumbles of cheese (blue, goat chevre). But it is absolutely delicious as is!

Lime and Chile Red Cabbage Salad

4 cups red cabbage, sliced thin
1/2 cup cilantro, minced
1/2 cup red onion, minced
2 limes
1/3 cup olive oil
1 serrano chile, minced
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Zest limes into a 2 cup measuring cup (you can leave the zest in strips if that is the kind of zester that you have.) Juice limes into the same cup and using a fork beat in the olive oil. Add the rice vinegar and salt and beat well to fully blended. In a large mixing bowl combine the red cabbage, cilantro, red onion and chile. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss well to coat. Ready to eat immediately but the flavors will meld if allowed to rest for several hours in the refrigerator.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Fried Smashed Potatoes with Lemon at Sidewalk Shoes
Chocolate Sour Cream Layer Cake at Garden of Eating
Brigadeiros - Brazilian Chocolate Truffles at The Perfect Pantry

1 comment:

Eve Fox said...

yum! this is similarish to one of my favorite cabbage salads (but I'm wimpy so I leave out the chile). Let me know if you end up trying out the sour cream layer cake - so good!