Cabbage and Apple Slaw

A hearty raw vegetable slaw holds well in the refrigerator, making this trio of cabbage, apples, and carrots ideal as a quick make-ahead salad or side dish. Given their sturdy texture, these three take to dressings like marinades, soaking up seasonings while staying crisp for hours. And anything goes with this trio. This kind of simple and quick dish works so nicely with grilled or roasted meats or seared fatty sh in all seasons. It’s a refreshing contrast to rich proteins.

A simple slick of lemon juice and olive oil brightens the savory-spicy duo of caraway and peperoncini. Whole poppy and mustard seeds add pop to every bite.

Recipe by Lior Lev Sercarz, from “Mastering Spice” by Lior Lev Sercarz

Serves 6-8

Make ahead:

The ingredients can be prepped and kept undressed up to 1 day ahead and the dressed slaw can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Ingredients

Spice Blend

3⁄4 teaspoon caraway seeds (3 grams)
1⁄2 teaspoon peperoncini (1 gram)
11⁄4 teaspoons poppy seeds (5 grams)
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds (5 grams)

Finely grind the caraway and peperoncini together and immediately mix with the whole poppy seeds and mustard seeds.

Salad

2 cups very thinly sliced red cabbage
2 cups very thinly sliced green cabbage
2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced, julienned, or coarsely grated
1 large sweet tart apple, such as Lady Alice, Fuji, or Honeycrisp, cored and thinly sliced, julienned, or coarsely grated
Juice of 1 lemon, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
Kosher salt

Instructions

1. To make the slaw: In a large bowl, toss the main spice blend with both cabbages, the carrots, and the apple.

2. Add the lemon juice, oil, and a generous pinch of salt. Stir and taste; add more lemon juice, oil, and salt to taste.

 

Variations

sesame-lime slaw with ginger

Sesame, in the form of both toasted seeds and oil, enriches this slaw and makes it a partner to any Asian-style dish.

SPICE BLEND

11⁄2 teaspoons white sesame seeds, preferably unhulled (5 grams)
1 teaspoon nigella seeds (3 grams)
1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger (1 gram)
1⁄2 teaspoon amchoor (dried mango powder; 1 gram)

Mix together the sesame seeds, nigella seeds, ginger, and amchoor. Use this spice blend instead of the main spice blend in the slaw recipe.

Follow the slaw recipe, substituting 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice for the lemon juice and adding 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon fish sauce along with the olive oil in step 2.

slaw with anise seeds and tangy tamarind dressing

Both tamarind and sumac offer sour notes, the former with a funky fruitiness, the latter with floral notes. The combination makes this slaw ideal for pairing with sweet and savory main dishes.

SPICE BLEND

11⁄2 teaspoons dill seeds (3 grams) 3⁄4 teaspoon sumac (2 grams)
1⁄2 teaspoon Urfa pepper (1 gram) 3⁄4 teaspoon anise (2 grams)

Finely grind the dill seeds, sumac, and Urfa together and immediately mix with the whole anise. Use this spice blend instead of the main spice blend in the slaw recipe.

Follow the slaw recipe, substituting 2 tablespoons tamarind paste for the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil for the olive oil in step 2.

cabbage, carrot, and apple sauté with mustard seeds

Here the slaw vegetables are cooked until al dente. This hot side dish works well with any rich main dish—I think it is especially good with quick-seared pork chops.

Follow the slaw recipe through step 1. Coat a large, deep skillet or large, wide saucepan with olive oil (about 3 tablespoons) and heat over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the slaw mixture, season generously with salt, and cook, stirring, until just wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice, stir well, and season to taste with salt. Serve warm.

creamy slaw with labne-tahini dressing

In my version of a creamy slaw, labne and tahini replace the traditional mayonnaise. The labne has a tangy edge and the tahini a nutty richness that make this salad very satisfying; use plain Greek yogurt if labne is not available.

Follow the slaw recipe through step 1. In step 2, whisk 21⁄2 tablespoons labne or plain Greek yogurt and 3 tablespoons tahini with the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt in a small bowl until well blended. Pour over the slaw and toss until evenly coated. Season to taste with salt.