“He said true things, but called them by the wrong names.”
Explosions of Flavour!
I really struggled deciding on a name for this gorgeous salad. Not that there aren’t a million possible choices. It’s that I don’t think the words ‘cabbage’ or ‘slaw’ are particularly appetizing and call me crazy, but I think the name of something really impacts whether or not your guests are going to get excited about it.
Take chicken livers… they’re a really tough sell regardless of how delicious the little devils are… for the most part people turn up their noses at the mere sound of them, which reminds me of a funny story. John and I were at an excellent neighbourhood Lebanese restaurant not too long ago… I won’t name it because I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about the service. I ordered the chicken livers as I always do when I’m there because they are UN-BELIEVABLY amazing. The waiter literally wrinkled his nose and said,
“Urgh (or some representation of his disgust along that line), you like those eh?” (uhhh, yes, yes I really do and I can tell you’re about to try and wreck that for me!) “Not me! My wife really likes them too, but no way you’re gonna get me to eat them.”
Case in point! He CHOOSES not to eat them based on their name alone… he has no idea how delicious they are! He could also really use some work on his customer service skills but this story is about how foods are judged based on their names. And trust me, you DO NOT want to get me started on questionable customer service!
I have no clue what got me all excited about doing something with cabbage, maybe I’d had one too many lacklustre slaw recipes. I also think it deserves more of a starring role (and probably a better name but I’m not on that committee) and as such I wanted something that felt like a meal, but without all the heaviness often associated with mayonnaise based dressings.
I like to think of this salad as having a very similar personality to my Holiday Dressing, It’s the basic idea that you take and work with it to make it your own. I’d like to try it with dried figs instead of cranberries! Fresh, sweet green peas instead of corn, OH YES! Toasted or raw pine nuts instead of sesame seeds? YES PLEASE! Another great version I’ve tried for a more hearty main was to throw in a (drained and rinsed of course) tin of legumes; lentils or chick peas would be marvelous! I really like the pancetta… because, well… bacon! If however you need it to be a vegetarian course then just skip that step… maybe try mushrooms in their place.
So many options so little time!
Enjoy & Namaste!
- glug of olive oil for the pan
- 4-6 thick slices pancetta, cut into cubes
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 yellow hot pepper, or 2 small jalapeño pepper, amount will depend on your penchant for heat
- ⅓ cup honey
- ⅓ cup white wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup lime juice
- ½ head red cabbage, thinly sliced
- ½ large napa cabbage, thinly sliced
- 2 cups corn, frozen works well if out of season
- ⅔ cup dried cranberries
- ⅔ cup toasted sesame seeds
- ½ cup flat leaf parsley, rough chopped
- ½ cup cilantro, rough chopped
- S&P to taste
- Heat oil in cast iron pan, and once it begins to shimmer add pancetta
- Cook pancetta until beginning to crisp lightly
- Add onion and hot pepper, stirring often until beginning to soften
- Remove from heat and allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the salad
- Combine both cabbages, corn, cranberries, sesame seeds, parsley and cilantro in a large bowl
- Add honey to cast iron with pancetta stirring to melt
- Add vinegar and lime juice stirring to combine
- Pour dressing over salad, tossing well
- Season with S&P accordingly