Who doesn’t love a nice crunchy slaw? This one is packed with flavor that only gets better with time.
Sometimes I find the weirdest things at the farmers market. This week, my eyes spied a cone-shaped cabbage. Yes. Connie Conehead would have snapped it up in a minute. I already had a head of radicchio in my basket, so my mind traveled to the world of coleslaw. Not overly sweet, gloppy coleslaw, which has never been a favorite of mine, but something light and crisp and perfect as we transition from summer to fall.
Hot and cold, summer and fall
And it really felt like a transition this week. 82 humid degrees in the day, and 42 chilly ones at night. When the weather changes, so do the farm offerings. I’ve been scouting out more sources for my cooking adventures, and was delighted to find a really excellent farmers market on Saturday mornings in Shelburne. They had lots of farmers in attendance, as well as the much-desired crafts, including woodworkers, jewelry, pottery, aromatherapy and other herbal cosmetics from local plants. There was plenty to choose from in the prepared food stalls as well, so lunch was a snap to put together.
But I really came for the produce, and I was not disappointed. There was still a bounty of summer squashes, colorful peppers, and green beans, but they were slowly being edged out by vibrant beets, cabbages, and hardy squashes. We found autumn strawberries, lovely local shiitake mushrooms, and Brussels sprouts. There was many a colorful cauliflower to be had as well, and I chose a deep purple, remembering that the deeper the color, the more minerals in the vegetable.
A little of this, and a little of that
The slaw I created used both the cone-head cabbage (which, of course, tasted exactly like round-head cabbage), radicchio, a few scallions, some snow pes, a lovely little carrot, and peanuts for more crunch. You can use whatever cabbage you find, and swap out any onion family for the scallions, but pick something on the sweeter side. Allergic to nuts? Leave them out, or substitute toasted sesame seeds.
My dressing evolved into a lovely sweet and sour using all those flavors that love each other: lemon, ginger, sesame, and honey. You could also use maple syrup, or another syrup of choice. Always adjust according to your own taste. Do you want it sweeter, or more sour? More sesame? Just mix it up, and taste with a piece of cabbage dunked in, not straight up. Straight up, it will probably taste too acidic.
Healthful and delicious
I don’t need to tell you how healthful this dish is, easily made vegan by substituting maple syrup, dairy- and gluten-free, so you can please just about everyone. I do have to mention the delightful flavor. Just a little sweet, just a little sour, and the vegetables shine through. Since moving one’s home and kitchen is a chore no matter how you approach it, I was glad that this one makes mass quantities, and will taste great even two days later, so lunch is already taken care of. Or two!
Sweet and Sour Autumn Slaw
- 1 small green cabbage, shredded
- 1 small head radicchio, shredded
- 3 scallions, sliced
- 3 oz. snow peas, chopped and blanched
- 1 carrot, diced and blanched
- 1 small red pepper, chopped
- 1/3 cup roasted peanuts, save some for garnish
Ginger Lemon Sesame Dressing
- 1 tbsp. grated ginger, on microplane
- 3 cloves garlic through a press
- Zest and juice of one juicy lemon
- 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp. native honey
- 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
- 2 tbsp. neutral oil
- Splash or two of hot sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
Prep all the vegetables. I used a chef’s knife to slice the cabbage, but you can use a grater, food processor, or mandoline.
Blanch the snow peas for about 30 seconds in boiling water, then immediately cool under cold running water. Blanch the carrots for a minute or two, just until tender, then cool likewise.
Place all the vegetables in a large mixing bowl, mix them up, then add salt and pepper to where you like it.
Combine all dressing ingredients in a canning jar and shake like crazy until well combined. Taste. Do you want it sweeter? More acid? You know how you like it.
Dress the salad and mix it well. Taste and correct seasoning if necessary. Top with peanuts and let set for at least an hour for the flavors to work their magic and get to know each other.
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