We’re in an interim season right now, not only for the weather, but for fresh produce. It’s hard to tell from one day to the next whether it’s going to be a good day for barbecuing. And while a fresh salad goes naturally with grilled meat, we haven’t yet had that explosion of fresh summer greens and tomatoes.
So here’s a salad that uses winter vegetables (plus preserved ginger and bottled salad dressing). It’s based on something I remember coming up with last summer, which in turn was probably based on this recipe — the pickled ginger being my own touch. It’s also both sweet and spicy, and just as importantly, I’d picked up a jar of it on clearance for about 99 cents. “Use what you’ve got,” is something I strive for — and if I could really do it, I’d run to the store a lot less.
Coleslaw, of course, is usually made with green cabbage and a creamy dressing, and is anything but sweet or spicy. Yet what the word literally means is cabbage salad, so this qualifies — and if you don’t like the more typical kinds of coleslaw, you may like this.
Speaking of not liking things, don’t worry if you don’t like carrots. I don’t, but I like this salad. The carrots are raw and grated thinly, so their effect on the taste is very subtle. The contrasting color they add is worth including them. If your pickled ginger is nice and pink, so much the better. If not, you can always color it with beet juice.
As I’ve said, it’s your choice on the dressing, but a simple vinaigrette that’s on the sweet side is best. If that’s not available, you may want to sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar to offset the acidity. If I didn’t have to stick to four ingredients, I’d think about adding a few slivered almonds and dried cranberries.
Whether you eat this indoors or out, enjoy it.
- About ½ medium head red cabbage
- 1 medium carrot
- 2 Tb. pickled ginger (sushi ginger)
- 2 Tb. vinaigrette salad dressing (your choice — cranberry-orange works well)
- Wash the cabbage and cut it, with a sharp knife, into thin shreds.
- Peel the carrot and shred it finely with a cheese grater.
- Chop the ginger medium fine.
- Combine all ingredients and toss with the salad dressing.
- If possible, refrigerate several hours to allow the flavor to deepen.