Turning Over a New Leaf
After the spicy, sweet, buttery, spongy, syrupy, creamy abundance of the last two weeks, farewell, vacation! It’s time for a change. A new leaf, if you will. (Sorry.) The kids start school tomorrow. Joan and I go back to work. The year starts in earnest. No more lolling on the couch knitting all afternoon. No more sleeping till 8:30. No more Turner Classic Movies till 2:00 a.m. Yes, it’s time to come back to earth.
But Earth has its pleasures, too. I give you the treat of the New Year: Japanese Salad. It’s not really Japanese, of course. I got this recipe from my sister, who got it, I think, from a barbeque cookbook. I’ve tweaked it a lot, to suit my very particular tastes, and you can, too.
Japanese Salad is everything I haven’t been eating lately: crunchy, fresh, tangy, and light. The fresh lovely pale green of Napa cabbage, the cheerful orange of grated carrot, and a just-this-side-of-too hot dressing with the endorphin-releasing slap of wasabi. It’s like a New Year’s resolution in a bowl.
2 teaspoons wasabi
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
5 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 small napa cabbage, finely shredded
2 carrots, peeled and grated
Sesame seeds for garnish
In a large bowl, whisk the wasabi, ginger, rice wine vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, and soy sauce until well-emulsified. Add the cabbage and carrots and toss very well. Sprinkle on sesame seeds.
You can eat it right out of the bowl standing at the refrigerator, or you can serve it as a side dish to almost any meal. I can recommend it highly with Laurie Colwin’s Chinese ribs, with hamburgers, and with leftover cold lamb.
Happy New Year!