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if you've ever been over to my house for dinner, you have probably eaten some version of this slaw. it's a variation of the slaw they make in the chez panisse cafe, and hence, a variation of alison's slaw over at bakesale betty.
at this time of year, when a little brightness on the plate is something we can all use, it's a great addition to anything from a humble dinner of beans and rice, a scrambled egg with tortilla, fish tacos, or even a steak. if you were to use a bit of rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and ginger instead of red wine vinegar, and olive oil, you could serve it with any number of asian-inspired dishes.
slaw. so clean. so good. basically made out of nothing.
bright cabbage slaw
serves 4-6 people as a side dish
1 small head of cabbage--red, green, napa, or any combination of the three is fine
1 small red onion
1 small bunch cilantro
red wine vinegar
good olive oil
Halve the head of cabbage, remove the core from each half with a V-shaped incision, and slice thinly. Place in a big salad bowl and sprinkle generously with salt.
Let the cabbage sit for at least 20 minutes to release some of its water.
In the meantime, peel and halve the onion. Remove the stem end and slice thinly. Macerate with red wine vinegar.
Halve, seed, and slice the peppers.
Roughly chop the cilantro. Both leaves and stems are delicious, but trim any woody ends the stems might have before chopping.
When the cabbage has released a good amount of water, drain it, then add the onion (but not the vinegar), cilantro, and appropriate amount of peppers for your liking.
Dress with olive oil.
Now comes my favorite part: layering the acids. You've already introduced some acid with the macerated red onion, and vinegar is a sort of heavier form of acid, so try to balance it out with lime and lemon juice. Probably the entire lime and half the lemon is a good amount to start with.
Taste, adjust salt and oil if needed. Then, start to tinker with the acids. Does it need more vinegar? More lemon? Taste and adjust, taste and adjust, taste and adjust.
I like my slaw on the acidic side, since I usually serve it with fried or rich foods as a foil. If you're just eating slaw and say, grilled chicken or fish, it might not need quite as much acid. It's all about context, you know?