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Sunday, September 13, 2009

red cabbage salad with green peas

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fall colors

Maybe you’ve already read that we just got back from the most amazing fall color display on our trip to Denali. (See a couple of Denali photos at the end of this post by our friend Peter Polson!) Still, the colors right here in Anchorage are pretty spectacular, too! I was running on the Hillside trails the other day, and loving the contrast of the red bearberry and dogwood, the golden birches, and the bright green mosses. Are we lucky to have this kind of beauty all around us, or what?

But my thoughts generally wander from such high-minded topics, and as usual when I’m running by myself, I started to think about food. In this case: the menu plan for the week, what needs cooking out of my refrigerator, and specifically, what I could make with bright color contrasts and fall vegetables.

I admit that bearberry leaves aren’t purple, and this salad lacks a birch gold, but I wasn’t trying for an exact match on the color scheme. This cabbage salad gets serious points in my book for fantastic color contrast (not to mention its delicious taste and speedy preparation)!

You can still pick up bags of sweet, fresh peas at the farmers market, and of course Alaskan red cabbage is ubiquitous this time of year. Selling bread yesterday at the farmers market, it was cool and rainy… it’s definitely turning into fall, after this wonderful warm weather we’ve been enjoying!

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red cabbage salad with green peas

This is a recipe that I adapted from one that my friend Colleen gave me. Hers used radicchio and cider vinegar, but I didn’t have any radicchio—so this salad was born!

If you don’t have red cabbage, you can use green cabbage instead. It’s pretty, still, with the different colors of green. Since this is a wilted salad, but the cabbage still retains some of its crunch, it’s great as a leftover salad the next day. I love eating this salad as a side to an avocado toast with balsamic vinaigrette and pickled red onions.

vinaigrette

¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly-ground pepper
1-2 tablespoons honey

salad

half a head of red cabbage, sliced very thin
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen green peas
½ bunch of scallions, sliced thin (or substitute ¼ cup of minced red or yellow onion)

1. Put the cabbage and scallions into a large salad bowl.
2. Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer to dissolve the honey and salt. Add the peas to the vinaigrette and cook for 1-2 minutes (maybe a bit longer if the peas are still frozen), just long enough to warm and cook the peas a little bit. Don’t cook them so long that they start to turn grayish-green; this is just to infuse them with the vinaigrette and soften the skins a little.
3. Pour the hot dressing and peas over the top of the cabbage and toss to mix well. The dressing will wilt the cabbage a little. Taste and add more salt, pepper, and honey as needed to make a vibrant salad.

 


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