My favorite salad and my simplest
This salad is best made several hours before you're going to serve it because the dressing will help soften the cabbage a little, making it easier to eat.
- While you can buy bags of already shredded red cabbage, please resist buying this tasteless stuff and instead buy a whole head of red cabbage. Cut off its bottom to get rid of the coarse stem and also to make it easier to peel off leaves.
- While you can certainly use the slicing or shredding disc of a food processor to turn your fresh cabbage head into slaw-like shreds, try to instead do this by hand because you'll get slightly larger and less uniform pieces , which in turn will make this more like salad than coleslaw.
- To cut by hand, take each cabbage leaf, cut out any thick spine so that you have large pieces of tender cabbage. Make a stack of the leaves and using a chef's knife, cut the leaves into very thin, shredded pieces.
- If you're familiar with a knife technique called "chiffonade," that would work perfectly here. Chiffonade means you take a leaf (or two or three stacked on one another) and roll it like a cigar and then working your way down the roll, cut it into 1/4" slices. Your goal is to have a bowl filled with shredded slaw-like red cabbage leaves which are dressed with a simple vinaigrette.
The combination of olive oil and canola oil lightens the dressing than if you only use olive oil.
In terms of color, texture and flavor, this salad is a wonderful companion to another single-ingredient salad, such as our mushroom and tarragon salad or celery and Roquefort salad.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
1 head red cabbage
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons canola oil
- Using a chef's knife, remove the bottom and outer leaves of the cabbage head. Cut the bottom of the cabbage so as to make it easy to remove as many leaves as possible, until the leaves start becoming small and thick (discard these).
- Following the instructions noted above, take the cabbage leaves and slice and shred them so as to produce about 6 cups of raw, sliced pieces of cabbage. You want it to look like a bowl of red cabbage coleslaw, but a little more coarse, not fine slaw.
- Alternatively you can use your food processor and shred wedges of the red cabbage, again to be slightly coarse slaw.
- In a second, smaller bowl, combine the red wine vinegar with a large pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper. Using a fork, stir the vinegar until the salt dissolves. While continuing to whisk, add the olive oil and canola oil and combine until the vinaigrette is fully combined.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the red cabbage and toss to combine.
This salad is best if it's made two to four hours before serving so that the cabbage has some time to soften a little (don't worry -- it won't wilt). Refrigerate but several times take it out and re-toss to make sure the dressing hasn't pooled on the bottom of the bowl.
Serve at room temperature.
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