crunchy cabbage salad
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Poor cabbage, it’s such an undervalued veg. The name does it, of course – if rose were called cabbage, no one would bother to even notice the flower.
Cabbage derives from Norman French caboche meaning ‘head’ and that possibly from Latin caput, also ‘head’. ‘Cabbage head’ will then be an illogical expression, a bit like ‘stupid idiot; and it’s equally unflattering. A cabbage insultingly describes a brain-damaged or mentally incapacitated individual. It also used to be a slang expression for stealing.
That’s English – the French redeem the brassica considerably in a ‘mon petit chou’ endearment. The Germans had a chancellor called Kohl so they don’t snigger. And even America respects cabbage – it’s slang for paper money.
If you treat it right, it will make a fantastic side dish. When cooking it, do it briefly, stir frying. Fermented is arguably the best, as in sauerkraut or kimchi. But raw shredded cabbage is better than the best lettuce, and this salad recipe is the absolute go-to (hate that word) garnish for tacos, gyros, summer rolls and all dishes that want for a bit of crunchy flavoursome greenery.
crunchy cabbage saladServings: 2-4Time: 10 minutes plus cooling the cabbage
- a head of new (green, or spring) cabbage
- 1 large clove of green garlic
- a few sprigs of mint, leaves stripped
- 2 small gherkins
- For the dressing:
- 1 tsp fine salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp grainy mustard
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 6 tsp groundnut or rapeseed oil
Shred the cabbage quite finely and place it in a large bowl of iced water. Leave it for 30 minutes or until the ice has melted.
Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Finely chop the garlic, the mint leaves and the gherkins.
Drain the cabbage on a large colander or sieve and give it a good shake to get rid of moisture. Place the cabbage in a serving bowl; add the garlic, mint and gherkins. Pour over the dressing and toss thoroughly. Ideal to serve as a side for a BBQ or a topping for tacos.