Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tangy Apple-Cabbage Slaw

I have the ambitions to cook for a crowd, but not the audience. Although I'll host a bigger meal from time to time, most of the time I'm just cooking for one or two. A lot of time I'm scaling back recipes that feed many more, but a linear adaptation isn't always the best one. I don't have the time to tweak my scaled back recipes until they're perfect, and so America's Test Kitchen Cooking for Two has become my new cookbook obsession and my guide to tackling my six pound head of cabbage. In addition to spot-on main course recipes like Warm Asian Cabbage Salad with Chicken, they have great recipes for using up leftover odds and ends of ingredients, like Beer Braised Cabbage. This slaw, the third cabbage recipe I made from ATK's Cooking for Two, is the perfect accompaniment for a rich protein like salmon or barbecued ribs. It's light, crunchy, and refreshing, with a dressing that expertly balances acidic, sweet, and rich elements. A nice contrast to the traditionally heavy dishes of winter, this burst of freshness cut right through my succulent smoked salmon sandwich and the bitter winds of winter blowing outside.

Tangy Apple-Cabbage Slaw
adapted from America's Test Kitchen Cooking for Two 2010
serves 2

1/4 small head cabbage (4 ounces), cored and chopped fine (about 2 cups)
1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into thin matchsticks
1 scallion, sliced thin (optional)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

1. Toss the cabbage with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a colander set in a bowl. Let sit until wilted, about 1 hour. Rinse the cabbage with cold water, then drain and dry well with paper towels. Transfer to medium bowl and stir in the apple and scallion.

2. Bring the vinegar, sugar, oil, mustard, and red pepper flakes to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour the mixture over the cabbage and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour, or up to 1 day. (If refrigerated for longer than 2 hours, let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.) Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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