Thursday, February 3, 2011

Spicy White Cabbage Salad--A New Arugula?

Looking at most popular recipes on food blogs, I often wonder if in cooking, like in fashion, simplicity is the way that always works best. On top of my blog list there are still the simplest dishes, including two cabbage salads, that basically require only one ingredient and some spices. I cannot figure out what explains this popularity, especially that Polish readers are in a minority among the visitors of this blog.

Are we simply tired of green salads and no one can be any longer impressed with a bowl of arugula? Or, are we looking for the new, easy, and healthy vegetable, that is ether still not fully appreciated in some parts of the world or already forgotten in others.

Well, whatever the reason, I could not be happier, as I always have some new recipes for salads, including cabbage salads. Ever since I tried arugula, I cannot live without it. I can eat it every day and will never get bored with its peppery taste. But for certain dishes that come from my native cuisine I prefer salads that are traditionally eaten with them. For example, I serve cabbage salad with most potato dishes, because the zesty taste of cabbage contrasts nicely with their mild taste.

I like to eat white cabbage salad in the summer and early fall when cabbage is young and green, naturally sweet, and almost as delicate as lettuce. In the winter, I prefer red cabbage salad or sauerkraut. But I have discovered this salad recipe, which uses fresh white cabbage, but seems pretty wintery to my taste. It is spiced with cayenne pepper and garnished with walnuts. Unlike most other cabbage salads, it is not predominantly sweet and sour but spicy from the hot pepper and walnuts. Wonderful with fish and meats, especially grilled and roasted.

Spicy White Cabbage Salad

1/2 small cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups),
1 tsp sugar,
2 tbsp lemon juice,
1 small onion, chopped,
1 garlic clove, minced,
1/2 cup walnuts chopped,
1/2 tsp paprika,
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper,
1 tbsp oil (in this recipe I like the neutral taste of grapeseed oil),
1/2 tsp salt.

1. Place the shredded cabbage in a large bowl. Add salt, sugar, and lemon juice, and squeeze it gently with hands. Set aside for 15 minutes.
2. Add onion, garlic, walnuts, paprika, cayenne pepper and oil. Mix all the ingredients.
3. Let it macerate for 10 minutes and serve.

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