So. After my less-than-appetizing, injury-inducing attempt at kicking off So Cal Summer Salads, I am here to present you with a true winner. Oh yes, this salad is Delicious (and I meant to use that capital D).
In fact, this salad is so delicious, that I am eating it right now as I am writing this. And I am not eating it for the first time, or the second time; but rather, I am eating this salad for the third time in as many weeks because it is so simple to prepare, and is such a welcome departure from the norm of lettuce-based salads. And did I mention yet that it is delicious?
I found this recipe while paging through James Peterson's Cooking. The recipe seemed to jump off the page at me, because I was just so shocked at seeing the bright purple cabbage combined with beautiful green pistachios. They seemed like unlikely bedfellows there on the page (in full color photograph of course), and I was intrigued enough to try out the recipe. It also helped that I only needed to purchase two ingredients, the cabbage and the pistachios, and I happen to adore both of them already. Separately, of course. I mean really, cabbage and pistachios together?
Maybe I was doubtful because I had never actually tasted these ingredients together before; but, taking a more global view of the recipe, I suppose it parallels any other salad I might toss together that has pecans or walnuts.
Since I have already sung the praises of this salad at the beginning of this post, you already know that the pistachios and cabbage compliment each other beautifully in taste. But lets also talk for a minute about texture. Uncooked cabbage is tough, and definitely crunchy, although not necessarily in a good way. Adding the salt and squeezing the cabbage softens it just the right amount, to the point where it is morphs into being crunchy in a very good way. Actually, the snap of the cabbage combined with the toothsome bite of the pistachios is what really sold me on this salad.
So lets recap. Reasons why this salad is awesome:
-You might already have everything in your fridge and pantry to make it. If you don't, the ingredient list is short.
-It is healthy, and still manages to taste delicious.
-The time it takes to make is negligible, since most of the time the cabbage is just sitting being salty, while you are sitting with your feet up, having an after work drink and/or reading your new issue of Bon Appetit and/or feeling great that you can make something healthy and tasty with so little effort.
-The colors are bright and unique.
-It has pistachios.
-It has sesame oil.
-I did not cut myself while making it.
-It has pistachios. (Yes, I have said this twice.)
Have I missed anything? In case you haven't guessed from the three times that I have made this already, I love this salad and I will be eating it on regular rotation throughout the summer. I think you should do the same.
Shredded Red Cabbage Salad with Pistachios
Adapted from James Peterson's Cooking
1 cup pistachios (depending on how much you like pistachios)
1 small red cabbage, outer leaves discarded
2 tablespoons salt
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and toast pistachios on a baking sheet for 10 minutes or until they are fragrant. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
Meanwhile, quarter the cabbage through the bottom, cut out the cores from each quarter, and thinly slice (here, thinner=less crunchy, thicker=more crunchy; choose what you prefer). Transfer all the cabbage to a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Using your hands, work the salt into the cabbage by rubbing and tossing until the cabbage doesn't feel gritty. Move all the cabbage to a colander, and let it drain for 30 minutes. Then, take handfuls of the cabbage and squeeze them tightly to remove as much excess water as you can, and transfer each handful to a new bowl. Repeat for all the cabbage. Add pistachios to the bowl, along with vinegar, both oils, and ground pepper to taste. Mix well and serve immediately. If you plant to serve it later, keep the pistachios separately so they don't lose their firmness.