January is the month of Battle Napa Cabbage. The monthly “food fight” held by Mel (Gourmet Fury) and Leela (SheSimmers) has done exactly what it set out to do. In just two months time it has gotten me excited about vegetables and eager to cook with vegetables that are not part of my normal repertoire.
Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage, is a pale green (almost white) elongated cabbage with a mellow, nutty flavor. It has tightly clinging leaves that are crispy and creased. I found that the Napa cabbage was a great canvas for an array of ingredients.
Since it is the start of a new year - a time of resolutions and new beginnings - I thought it fitting to prepare a recipe that was healthy and light. Rather than preparing the Napa cabbage in a soup, stir- fry, or kimchi as it is typically found, I decided to use the cabbage in a slaw.
This is not your mama’s slaw. In thick wedges or large chunks, the Napa cabbage is coated with a tart dill mayonnaise. It is spiked with slivers of carrots and paper-thin rings of red onions. Crack some black pepper over the top and you are done. Serve it with a salty shaving of smoked salmon or accompany it with delicate Sardinian parchment bread and you have a healthy, light, and satisfying meal.
The slaw has a delicate creaminess. The crunch from the cabbage, the sweetness from the carrots, and subtle spice from the onions marry well together. This slaw is the embodiment of simplicity.
1 Napa cabbage
1 red onion
Smoked salmon (less than ¼ pound)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup mayonnaise (a great store bought will do, or make it from scratch)
Juice of ½ lemon (or more to taste, the dressing should be really tart!)
½ cup of chopped fresh dill
Take ¾ cup of mayonnaise and add fresh squeezed lemon juice and stir to combine. Add ½ cup of freshly chopped dill and combine. Do not add salt! The salt will pull the moisture from the cabbage and make this slaw soggy. Who wants that?
Shred 1 carrot and shave ¼ of a red onion for garnish.
Pull the exterior leaves from the Napa cabbage and save for another use. Take the heart of the Napa cabbage and cut it into long wedges or thick chunks. Dress the Napa cabbage to taste. Add carrots, red onion, and pepper. Enjoy!