By Helen Klein
It’s in the frigid depths of winter that root vegetables can really come into their own.
When the kitchen becomes a refuge against howling winds, and summer produce — freshly picked tomatoes or crunchy cucumbers — is but a distant memory, cabbage, radishes and carrots shine. They are crisp and flavorful, and, when served cold in a salad, provide a balance to the warm, soft, spicy foods which fit the bill when the mercury dips.
I developed this slaw, for instance, as a counterpoint to curried butternut squash that I had mashed and fried up in spring roll skins. The cilantro and poppy seeds were chosen to provide a vaguely Eastern flavor, though the dish would have gone equally well with tacos, as a side dish for a quick lunch sandwich, or stuffed into a piece of pita bread on top of chunks of grilled chicken.
Like pretty much everything I make, the recipe lends itself to variation, as long as you keep in mind the general principle of contrasting flavors. Raw turnip could stand in for the radish. All red or green cabbage could be used (though you would lose the gorgeous color contrast). Instead of carrots, you could throw in a handful of raisins for sweetness.
Serves six as a side dish
1/4 green cabbage
1/4 red cabbage
4-inch length daikon radish, peeled
2 carrots, peeled
1/4 sweet onion
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. poppy seeds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Shred cabbage, radish, carrots and onion. Set aside.
In small bowl, combine lemon juice, mayonnaise, garlic, cilantro, poppy seeds and salt and pepper. Add to vegetable mixture and stir thoroughly to combine.
Chill for at least 1 hour.
Adjust flavorings and serve.