August 9, 2010

Red Salad

I'm still very much in my Nigella phase, and this is another one of her recipes.  It did not disappoint.  I'm always looking for new ways to make salads, for the obvious reason that veggies are so good for you.  Look at the pretty colors in this one!  What is so great about this salad, besides its color, is that it has amazing flavor.  Neither my husband or I could stop eating it. Nigella uses Asian flavorings in this, so it's a bit exotic, and that's what I like.  The lime juice particularly kind of "pickles" the cabbage and onions so that they are crispy but also easy to chew. 

We found this salad very refreshing, especially now in the summer season, although Nigella suggests it for the holiday season, for its redness and her use of shredded turkey in it.  I used shredded chicken, because that's what I had, but I'm sure come the holidays I'll be using turkey.  Needless to say you can omit the meat to make it a vegetarian meal, but keeping in the meat makes this an excellent main course for lunch, and though it's a little time consuming, it's simple and it makes a lot.  Fish sauce and rice vinegar can be found in the Asian section of the grocery store.  I'll list the red chilis as in the original recipe, but I didn't use them. 

I thought this salad was almost perfect, but if we're going for perfection, I think candied pecans and dried craberries take it to another level, and they are certainly perfect for the holiday season if you are serving it then.  That extra sweetness and nutty crunch...heaven!  Then again, not so sure that would go well if you choose to use the chili peppers.  Your call.

Adapted from Feast by Nigella Lawson
Serves 4 as a main course, up to 8 as a side

Red Salad

 for the dressing:
2 red chilis
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons sugar or honey
3 teaspoons rice vinegar
juice of one lime, or 3 tablespoons
4 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil

for the salad:
1 red onion
approx. 8 cups finely chopped red cabbage (about 1.5 pounds)
8 oz radishes
4 cups cold cooked turkey or chicken, shredded
5 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Candied pecans and dried craberries, optional

Finely chop the chilis with or without seeds, according to how hot you like it.  Drop them in the largest bowl you have.  Mince the garlic.  Add the sugar or honey, vinegar, lime juice, fish sauce, and olive oil.  Peel and finely slice the red onion into half moons and add to the dressing mixture.  Allow to steep for 15 minutes, making sure they're immersed.  Grind some black pepper into it. 

Add the turkey or chicken and allow to marinate another 15 minutes.  Shred the cabbage as finely as you can and cut the radishes into 8 segments (large enough to have a nice crunchy bite).  Add all this to the bowl and mix very well.  This is my advice: allow to steep at least 10 minutes before serving.  Stir in half of the cilantro, and sprinkle the rest on top when serving.

Toss in candied pecans and dried craberries just before serving, if desired.

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