Thursday, January 19, 2012

Superfoods Month: Raw cabbage salad with lemon

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Today's Superfood: Cabbage
Vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, fiber

When I want a salad, more often than not this cabbage salad with lemon is the one I'm craving. You need three ingredients (okay, five including salt and pepper), a sharp knife, and a half-hour. That's it.

I use plain green cabbage for this salad, but Napa or Savoy cabbage would work too. I tried it once with red cabbage and was disappointed - it doesn't wilt the same way - but give it a whirl if you prefer purple to green.

My favorite way to eat this salad is topped generously with smoked salmon. Low carb, low calorie, high protein, high fiber. The lemony dressing coats the smoked salmon just perfectly. Okay, my mouth is watering. If you'd told me a few years ago that the thought of cabbage could make my mouth water I would have laughed out loud...but there it is.

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Raw cabbage salad with lemon
This is one of the simplest salads in my repertoire, and one of the most satisfying. It's equally good after sitting for a day or two - it wilts but never loses all its crunch.
  • 1 head green cabbage, quartered and cored
  • 1 large lemon (regular or Meyer)
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
With a sharp knife, slice the cabbage into very thin shreds. You can use a mandoline for this step, but it's hard to keep the cabbage quarters together, and I always end up making a huge mess. I've gone back to the knife.Put the shredded cabbage into a large bowl. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze all the juice over the cabbage. Add the olive oil and a good dose of salt and pepper. Mix well. Let the cabbage salad sit at room temperature about 30 minutes, just long enough for the acid and salt to start wilting the cabbage. Toss again before serving.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6-8 servings


Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Lovely idea for this time of year when lettuce is not very exciting in the markets.

Love the lemon!

Ellen Harris-Braun said...

Hey, I have been making a version of this (no 30-min wait) for years, based on a shredded-cabbage salad I had at a Greek restaurant in London when I was little. (Anemos, the restaurant was called) We went there a lot one summer and I got this every time, I think. At home I cannot shred the cabbage as finely but it is still good. I will try the 30-min wait!

Erika Kerekes said...

Ellen - actually, my first draft of this post had your name in the first sentence, because you were absolutely the inspiration for this salad and I think of you every time I make it. Cannot remember now why you didn't end up in the final version! Late-night editing, I guess. Sorry!

Lana said...

If you sub white wine vinegar for lemon juice, this is the cabbage salad I grew up with and make almost once a week:) I agree, it is incredibly simple, but oh, so satisfying. Being Serbs, we tend to serve it along roasted pork to cut through the fat, but I am willing to try it with salmon:)
I cannot use mandoline for shredding - a sharp knife is more than enough. My mom taught me to add just salt to the shredded cabbage and scrunch it with my hands, before letting it rest for 30 minutes. The salt makes it soft (and the cabbage juices are extremely powerful, packed with good nutrients).
Maybe we should have a cabbage party? :)

Erika Kerekes said...

Lana - I have tried it with vinegar but I far prefer the lemon. Meyer lemon is even better if you can get your hands on it. Of course, if you come to my house I am drowning in Meyer lemons this time of year...I love winter.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if it is possible to can this type of cabbage salad?

Erika Kerekes said...

Anon, I guess you could, but the canning process would heat it up enough to cook the cabbage, right? And then it wouldn't be the same thing at all.

Anonymous said...

I guess it would end up being some type of chow-chow or sauerkraut possibly?

Erika Kerekes said...

Anon - yeah, I guess. It doesn't really have enough salt for sauerkraut. You'd have to add some.

Hortensis said...

Wow! Thanks so much, Erika. I've never done raw cabbage much, but with leftover lox and half a cabbage in a pretty bare fridge, I googled recipes and came on this recipe. First slaw I've ever loved. I'm trying to keep out of it until dinner, when the lox go on, and am already thinking of other things it will go great with this summer. I scrunched it with salt as Lana suggested, and it was ready to eat in short order. Thanks again.

Herbaliscous said...

I use 2 white or red cabbages and 2 lemons with a splash of olive oil and a really generous amount of flat leaf parsley and a very large bowl and season thoroughly. It takes longer for the dense cabbage to soften so I loosely cover it and leave out for 24 hours, tossing it occasionally. A little thyme and some chilli flakes also help but not too much. Leaving it for this long not only softens the cabbage, but really mellows the lemon juice. It's amazing as a filling for a baked potato or toasted pitta and you'll be grateful that you made such vast quantities as you'll polish it off pretty quickly!

Erika Kerekes said...

I agree, Herbaliscous - the longer it sits, the better it gets. Baked potato, never thought of that!

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