Monday, April 23, 2012

Slaw with Orange Tahini Dressing

I wish I had an interesting story to go along with this recipe. It deserves one. The simple and perhaps unexciting truth is that I wanted to try the orange-tahini combination in the dressing for this great-looking salad. I figured that with spring really here, apparently to stay, I might not have much more time to dwell on oranges. Plus, the delicate baby lettuce mixtures available from local sources and growing in pots on my patio (that part of this story is actually pretty exciting) are soon going to leave me with no interest in cabbage…at least for a while.

I’m glad I hadn’t completely turned my back on such wintery foods as cabbage and oranges just yet because this salad was delicious. Cabbage can probably take on just about any style of dressing that you like, so I wasn’t all that surprised that this creamy orange-tahini one went well. I had also added some thinly-sliced chard to the slaw mix, however, and the dressing was great on that too. The texture of those chard ribbons also served to fluff up the salad a bit, keeping it from getting too dense under the rich, creamy dressing.

And so, wonderfully flavorful and substantial enough to be a light main dish, this salad is exciting enough to be its own story. Its origins are nothing new if you’re a slaw fan: shred or slice some vegetables, in this case cabbage, carrots, chard, scallions and parsley, and mix them with a creamy dressing. Things get a little more exotic and exciting when the tasting comes in: crunchy cabbage and tender chard, sweet carrots, a bit of onion, aromatic orange zest, and rich sesame paste emulsified with extra-virgin olive oil and sweet-tart orange juice. Delicious. Tossing together another bowl of this lovely stuff could go a long way toward helping me wait for my baby lettuces…for a little while, anyway.

Cabbage and Chard Slaw with Orange-Tahini Dressing
Inspired by this recipe at My New Roots

I like to use a Microplane grater to zest citrus fruits. Be sure to remove the zest before squeezing the oranges for juice. It’s much easier.

zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons olive oil (preferably extra-virgin)
½ teaspoon coarse salt
¼ cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons tahini
½ small head cabbage, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
1 cup thinly sliced Swiss chard leaves
2 large carrots, grated (about 1 ½ cups)
2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
½ cup chopped fresh parsley

1. In a small bowl, combine the orange zest, olive oil, salt, orange juice, water and tahini. Whisk together until thick and very smooth. Set aside.

2. Combine the cabbage, chard, carrots, scallions and parsley in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and stir well to combine and coat the vegetables with the dressing.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Other recipes like this one: Cabbage Slaw with Spicy Peanut Dressing, Cabbage Slaw with Feta and Olives, Winter Squash and Chickpea Salad with Apricots and Tahini Dressing

One year ago: Warm Noodles with Cilantro and Coconut Lime Dressing

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