Haystack Slaw from Winter Vegetables
February 14, 2016
A couple of weeks ago we had a restaurant salad consisting of eight or ten winter vegetables. The dressing was citrus-y and a touch sweet, and the vegetables were cut into half-inch pieces. The concept was terrific, but those veggie pieces were too big! Raw winter vegetables are pretty hard on the teeth, and my jaw was aching by the time I finished the generous serving.
I decided I could do better than that. And as it happened, last week we got the third monthly delivery of winter vegetables from our CSA: green cabbage, Napa cabbage, daikon radish, baby turnips, watermelon radish, kohlrabi, rutabaga, beets, carrots, potatoes, onions. The produce has been terrific this year, and we are happy to be eating locally instead of relying on pricey imported lettuce, say, from drought-stricken areas.
With the December and January deliveries I made a lot of soup and a lot of roasted vegetables. But this week I was determined to improve on that restaurant salad, so here's what I came up with. Rather than chopping the vegetables, I julienned them with my mandoline, which made them much easier to munch.* And I named it Haystack Slaw because the veggies look like a haystack when they're all piled up. Kind of.
For my salad I thin-sliced both kinds of cabbage (green and Napa), then julienned both kinds of radish, the baby turnips, and the kohlrabi.** The carrots I didn't julienne but just cut into thin slices, for no good reason except to provide a textural contrast. For a hint of sweetness I thin-sliced two small apples.
The dressing was lemon juice, Dijon mustard, olive oil, and a litle orange-and-shredded-carrot marmalade for sweetness.
The thing to watch out for is the quantity. It's easy to end up with a very large bowl of this salad, simply because there are so many different ingredients. It's a very good salad and it keeps well for a few days, but you'll be eating it at every meal if you make too much. Start with the cabbage(s), then add the other vegetables while keeping in mind the number of people you're cooking for.
For two people I used a quarter head of green cabbage and about three inches from the Napa cabbage, plus one baby turnip, one small watermelon radish, about two inches of daikon radish, one small kohlrabi, and three small carrots. (I peeled everything except, of course, the cabbages.) For the dressing I squeezed a whole lemon, added a tablespoon each of the mustard and the marmalade, then whisked in five tablespoons of olive oil.
*Lacking a mandoline you could grate them on a large-holed grater or simply cut them by hand with a sharp chef's knife--which will be more time-consuming, obviously. A food processor might work, depending on the type of attachment blades you have. My own will slice or grate (not julienne), and grating would make this salad too mushy.
**I decided against using beets because I didn't want the colour to bleed on everything else (though the restaurant salad did have pieces of golden beets), and I'm saving my rutabaga for mashed-potato-and-rutabaga, which is my favourite non-soup way to eat rutabaga.