This a quick and easy salad for those nights when you find your fridge lacking in fresh vegetables – maybe you haven’t done a fruit and vegetable shop in a while, or perhaps it’s mid-winter and your determination to buy seasonal produce leaves you with a fairly limited repertoire. Cabbage and carrots are two of those stalwarts that are pretty much always in season, so on those nights when I bemoan the lack of fresh produce in my vegetable crisper, the cabbage and carrot are invited out. Anyway, here’s a quick slaw to use them in. You hardly need a recipe for this type of thing, but when it comes to salads, I’m a stickler for texture; I like everything to be chopped or sliced or diced in a precise way. A few months back I came across a Cockney-accented lady flogging vegetable shredders at the Avondale market (is there anyone left in Bow, or have they all emigrated to the fleamarkets of the world?) and was so impressed with her mountain of feather-light strips of cabbage that I had to buy one. Actually, the main reason I bought one is because I had just bought green papaya to make Som Tam, and, being obsessed with the shape and size of salad components, have never been happy with grated papaya in a Som Tam. It must be shredded, even if that means losing a fingertip. So with this slaw, please use a shredder to get your cabbage paper-thin. Think of those little side salads they serve at Japanese restaurants. You want that texture.
Simple Slaw (serves 2-4)
1/4 white or red cabbage, washed and shredded
2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
1/3 cup feta (buffalo, goat’s or sheep’s are best), crumbled
1/2 small red onion, sliced very thinly
1/4 cup toasted nuts or seeds (pumpkin, cashew pieces, almond slivers, hazelnuts etc)
Dressing: 1/4 apple, crushed to a pulp, 2 Tbsp evoo, 3 Tbsp vinegar (malt, red wine, white wine)
Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk dressing ingredients well to emulsify and mix through the salad to serve. This salad is great to serve with grilled meats – spare ribs, steak, lamb cutlets – as the tangy dressing cuts through fats and oils to balance out the meal.