My friend Ana‘s favourite colour is purple. The other day I was driving back home from her place and stopped at this little grocery store. I was into buying some vegetables for lunch and, subconsciously thinking about the conversation we had about colour that day, I decided to bring home, amongst other things, a purple cabbage. Purple cabbage isn’t the kind of vegetable I eat much. I love cabbage and cook it often but, for some reason, I’ve never cared much for the purple variety. However, after making this salad I guess that is about to change. The cabbage is “cooked” in a garlicky and vinegar-y dressing and the toasted nuts add a nice contrast thanks to their depth and earthiness. I didn’t add any fresh herbs to the whole thing because I didn’t have any at hand, but you can definitely finish it off with some finely chopped parsley or coriander. When it comes to salads, I usually think “The simpler, the better”. Work with a few ingredients, cut them appropriately, make a slighty more acidic/vinegary dressing and you’re good to go. And in case you want to know, I’ve already decided what my next “purple experiment” will be: sauerkraut.
A Purple Salad
½ medium sized / 300 g purple cabbage
½ red onion / 80 g, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons / 30 g toasted peanuts (or walnuts), coarsely chopped
for the dressing:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 big piece / 15 g of fresh ginger, grated
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon agave nectar
zest of one orange
Remove the cabbage’s outer and tougher leaves. Then, cut the cabbage in half and remove its white stalk. Cut each half into paper thin slices. Transfer the shreds of cabbage to a large bowl.
Now, it’s time to make the dressing. Add all the dressing’s ingredients (except the ginger) to a bowl and whisk to combine. Finely grate the ginger and squeeze it over the bowl (you’re not going to use the pulp). Add the sliced onion to the bowl with the dressing and let it sit, covered and at room temperature, for at least 15 minutes. The dressing will “cook” the onion making it softer and sweeter to the palate.
Add the dressing and onion to the bowl with the shredded cabbage. Using your hands, massage the salad for at least 3 minutes or until its volume reduces by half. Serve immediately sprinkled with coarsely chopped peanuts or walnuts (preferably toasted).
I frequently spot asparagus in supermarkets and groceries stores, but they’re so expensive around here that I tend not to buy them. Plus, they usually come from very far away, which means long airplane travels and refrigeration time. I often wonder how long they have been harvested, and as much as I like eating them, that thought keeps me away from bringing them home. However, the other day I spotted locally sourced fresh asparagus and, knowing they’re in season, I prepared a simple and practical dish with this spring treat. The thing with asparagus is that you don’t want to overcook them as well as masking their flavour by combining them with a hundred different ingredients. With that in mind, this recipe came to live. The sunflower sauce is creamy and delicate in flavour making a perfect match for the grilled asparagus. I have a recipe for gram crêpes deep in the archives but, as I’m too lazy to check it out and because it’s a simple one to write down, I’m reposting it here again. Hope you enjoy this one, I’ll be coming back soon. (;
Grilled Asparagus with Sunflower Seed Sauce and Gram Crêpes
1 bunch / 300g asparagus, trimmed
for the sunflower seed sauce:
¼ c. / 35 g sunflower seeds
¼ c. / 65 ml hot water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon sal
freshly ground black pepper
for the gram crêpes:
¼ c. / 35 g gram flour
½ c. /125 ml warm water
¼ teaspoon salt
For the sauce, add all the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor. Process on high speed for 1-2 minutes or until the sauce gets a fairly smooth consistency. Add more hot water if you want to thin it out a bit and adjust the seasonings to your liking.
To grill the asparagus, start by brushing a griddle pan with olive oil. Turn the heat to medium-high and when the pan is hot, but no smoking, add the asparagus. Sprinkle them with sea salt and grill for 3-5 minutes on each side or until they get visible grilling marks. Set aside.
For the gram crêpes, mix all the ingredients (except the olive oil) in a bowl. Whisk until you get a thin batter with no visible lumps. In the meantime, and using a pastry brush, grease non-stick frying pan and heat it to medium heat. When the pan is hot, but not smoking, add 1/3 cup of the gram batter to it, making sure it evenly covers the bottom of the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, being careful not to break the crêpe when turning it over. Add the remaining 1/3 cup of batter to the pan and repeat the proceeding.
To assemble, arrange the asparagus on a plate, spoon the sauce over them and serve the gram crêpes on the side.