"I need your recipe for that cabbage salad." "Which one?" "The one. That you always make for Shabbat." "Oh, that? It's barely a recipe. Oh, okay, you write, I'll tell you what I do." This is without a doubt the prelude to every best recipes. Also like the best recipes, it's a concert of flavor, in this case, from an amazingly humble list of ingredients. I'm tempted to call this salad Asian-Israeli, what with the combination of soy sauce and silan, but we'll go with Asian-inspired cabbage salad (or slaw, if you prefer). It's one of my aunt Efrat's signature dishes, and always makes me think of family meals around her big wooden dining table in Tel Aviv.
Toasting the nuts and seeds
Don't be tempted to skip this step. It's absolutely the key to a superlative salad. It takes about 5 minutes to toast the almonds and sesame seeds, in just a small amount of oil, less than a tablespoon. For most of that time, it'll seem like nothing is happening. Then, all of a sudden, the nuts will start to smell fragrant and toasty and will brown up quickly. At this point you have to watch them carefully because they'll go from nutty and wonderful to burnt on a dime. You want most of the nuts and seeds to turn light brown, then take them off the heat immediately.
Making the dressing
Making the dressing is simple: combine all the ingredients and either shake in a jar or whisk vigorously. Pour over the salad and let it stand for at least a few minutes, so it can meld. This salad is best on the first day, but will keep for a day or two more in the fridge.
Efrat's Asian-Inspired Cabbage Salad (parve)
- Shred the cabbage finely by hand or using a food processor, if not using pre-shredded cabbage. Place in a large salad bowl.
- Toast the sesame seeds and almonds in a small amount of oil in a pan until lightly browned and fragrant.
- Next, make the dressing: In a small jar or container, combine the oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, silan, and sesame oil. Pour over the cabbage.
- Add the sesame and almonds and mix well. Chill in the refrigerator.