Friday, August 27, 2010

White Cabbage Salad--Polish Ingredients, German Way

What can I possibly post on my last day of vacation in Poland? Cabbage, of course! But since this is almost a one-ingredient dish I will have to tell the story how this very low calorie and healthy salad got onto my family menu, especially that--which may seem surprising--this is not a Polish recipe.

Many years ago, still during the communist times, I went with my parents on vacation to our western neighbors--a tiny town called Friedrichroda in then East Germany, very close to the border with West Germany. You cannot even imagine how western it felt there then! Store shelves were filled up with a great variety of very desirable products: Salamander shoes, corduroy pants, a huge choice of wallpapers, not to mention the great variety of attractive looking food. The only regret was that we could not buy much for our limited allowance of GDR marks.

Every day's highlight were though the copious meals that we were served at the resort. It was a "lavish" Swedish buffet where you could eat as much as you wanted, which some people really tried, endlessly filling up their plates. The choice was wonderful, especially cold meats, which at that time we could only dream of in Poland, but also breads and salads. The most disappointing were desserts--tasteless, and not even sweet at all.

We liked the white cabbage salad particularly well. It was made from a very familiar ingredient--a mainstay of Polish cuisine--but was served in an unfamiliar way. We put our broken German through a strenuous test and got the recipe. Ever since, for more than thirty years, we have been having it at hour home. The only difference is we do not serve it as a self-standing salad but only with dinners--it enhance very good with meat, even grilled ones, and most of all with fish, especially fried in breadcrumbs.

So if you are tired of green salads and looking for something easy and healthy, this salad is an option rich in vitamins A, B1, B12, and C. It is always a huge hit at our deck parties and disappears fast, earning praises for its uniquely refreshing taste.

Shredded White Cabbage Salad

1/2 medium white cabbage (it actually should be young and still green),
1/2 cup flat-leaved Italian parsley,
1/2 cup chopped dill,
1 tbsp sugar,
1 lemon,
salt and pepper.

1. Shred the cabbage very thinly, put in a bowl, salt with about 1/2 tsp of salt, squeeze with hands slightly to help salt to penetrate and soften the cabbage, and aside for about 20-30 min.
2. Add sugar and lemon juice--you need to try how sour and sweet you like it to be--it should be sweet but the sour taste should dominate.
3. Put in dill and parsley, mix together, and serve.

Can be made even hours ahead and served straight from the refrigerator, especially on a hot day, for instance with grilled meats.


Ada said...

Kapusta na słodko... hm... warte wypróbowania

Janine said...

This looks good. I am from East Germany and cannot remember ever having eaten this. But I miss cabbage in my diet, since in Germany its used more often than here in the US, so I may give this salad a try ....

Lois B said...

I've had a salad like this at buffets in Poland. Can't wait to try it! Thanks!!!