Come winter the fare gets heavy and rich, and I’m always searching for ways to brighten my kitchen and my diet. While braised cabbage is a mainstay, like this Maple and Ham Braised Cabbage or Apple Caraway Braised Cabbage, I yearn for a throwback to summertime salads! This simple salad fits the bill, and is also a perfect topping and accompaniment for the cold-weather food you might not willing to ditch just yet, like pulled barbecue chicken.
This recipe will also teach you how to make an American classic and the #1 selling condiment, homemade mayo- which becomes aioli with a smattering of garlic and seasoning. Though aioli only takes about 10 minutes to make, you can also cut corners by using a store-bought bottle and whisking in garlic, lemon juice and other seasonings as mentioned in the recipe below. Either way – easy or adventurous – you’ll have this slaw on the table in less than 20 minutes. Enjoy!
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This is a bright, festive-colored dish to serve alongside rich holiday offerings, like roast birds and buttery mashed potatoes. Plus, you will have extra aioli for fixing leftover sandwiches the next day, or dunking vegetables and other dippers. Aioli is best enjoyed the day it is made; because it contains raw eggs, store it in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Also, look for farm-fresh eggs from pasture-raised hens - this will minimize the risk of salmonella and other diseases that we hear more and more about in commercially produced eggs and poultry.
- For Aioli:
- Garlic - 2 small cloves
- Salt - Pinch
- Egg - 1egg yolks
- Water - 1/2 teaspoon
- Olive oil - 1 cup
- Lemon juice - 1 teaspoon
- Mustard powder - Optional: 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- Cayenne pepper - Optional: Pinch cayenne pepper
- For Slaw:
- Red cabbage, shredded - 1/2, shredded
- Aioli - 3 tablespoons
- Apple cider vinegar - 2 tablespoons
- Lemon juice - 1 tablespoon
- Salt to taste -
- Pecans - Optional: 1/2 cup, chopped and toasted (you can also buy pecan pieces at a better price, and skip the chopping)*
- Parsley - Optional: 1/2 cup, coarsely chopped (substitute with cilantro or spring onion)
- Peel the garlic cloves and use a mortar and pestle to pound them into a smooth paste.
- In a separate medium mixing bowl, add half the garlic, a pinch of salt, the egg yolk and the water. Whisk together thoroughly.
- Tip: wet a piece of paper towel and place it under your bowl so that it stands firmly on the surface while you are using both hands to pour the olive oil and whisk the aioli.
- Begin by adding a couple drops of olive oil and whisking the aioli. Then very slowly add a thin, steady stream of olive oil while whisking vigorously. You can pause to whisk in the olive oil if you are having trouble keeping up with both hands. If you err on the side of adding the smallest amount of olive oil at a time, your aioli will quickly begin to take on the right consistency: thick, light in color and opaque like butter. When it reaches this consistency, you can begin to add the olive oil more quickly, continuously whisking.
- When you have used all of the olive oil, add the lemon juice in drops, whisking the aioli - this will also lighten the color. Taste the aioli to see if it needs more or less lemon juice. Likewise for the garlic. If you are satisfied with its punch, you can use the rest of the garlic for another dish. If you want it to be spicier, add more garlic.
- Last, add any additional seasoning you like. I chose mustard powder and cayenne pepper for a soft hint of spice. You can also hadd chopped herbs, horseradish, chopped pickles and pickle juice for a tartar, capers and anchovies, and any other creative combination you can dream up in the kitchen.
Preparation: Pecan and Red Cabbage Slaw
- Shred the cabbage in a food processor or finely with a knife, and put it in a large serving bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the aioli, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. Add salt to taste, as the aioli already has some salt and a whole lot of garlicky spice.
- Using your hands, massage the aioli dressing into the shredded cabbage until the cabbage becomes softer and more limp.
- Toss in the pecans and parsley.
- Tip: toast the pecans in a dry saute pan over medium heat until they begin to brown and fill the kitchen with a nutty aroma. Watch them carefully, as it's easy to let nuts and seeds burn on the stovetop!
- * Even better, find candied pecans at the grocery store to replace the plain pecans here!