“I wonder what you’d have on the side with a plate of Deep-Fried Anxiety. Pickles? Coleslaw? Potato-Strychnine mash?” -Robin McKinley, American writer and repeat Newbery offender (man I loved Newbery books as a kid…..The Westing Game! Ramona Quimby, Age 8! Sigh.)
I know what you’re thinking. ”Um, Krista? That picture up there looks awful summery. And, um, in case you haven’t noticed, it’s November and there are Christmas decorations happening around you. Your boyfriend is humming Ding Dong Merrily on High already for Christ’s sake.” And yes, you’re right, it does look a bit, well, warm weather-y. But I have a very, very, very good excuse. First and foremost, I’m not exactly a Scrooge, but Christmas carols are the kinds of things that make me want to stick my fingers into my ear holes and go “La la la la la I’m not listening!!!” Additionally, I attend the French Culinary Institute. 3 nights a week, I am subjected to copious amounts of cream and butter and bacon and more butter and more cream and bacon. It’s all fun and games, of course, cuz it’s BUTTER and CREAM and BACON, but sometimes, a girl’s gotta have a little salad in her life, know what I mean?
You also must know about me that I get regular and intense cravings for Mexican food. (I had one this week in case you didn’t notice. Post after post of this stuff all week!) I grew up in the Southwest, around some of the best Mexican food available in America. What we had in Colorado was a sort of food version of a language dialect. Not exactly authentic, but sensitive to its roots, and clearly the offshoot of the same base plant. A little bit of Texan Tex-Mex-style influence here, a little of Native American influence there….. I hope what I’ve done here can qualify on some similar plane of logic. I’d hardly call this dish “Mexican” but it is decidedly inspired by Mexican cuisine. First of all, it’s colorful. I love that so much of Mexico’s food is about being colorful. And the flavors wound up being so wonderfully complimentary. There’s a great smokiness and dull spice from the chipotle, great crunch and flavor from the cabbage, jicama, and radish, and a light touch of sweet from the fresh corn and the Asian pear. And all of that is tied together in a lightly creamy yogurt bouquet, sprinkled with cilantro. Yes, I’m being dramatic, but it was really good!
5-6 nice, big green cabbage leaves, washed, cores removed, and cut in chiffonade
1 small jicama root, washed, peeled, and cut in julienne
1 small red onion, washed, peeled, and cut into very thin half-moons
4-6 radishes, washed, trimmed, and cut in julienne
2 ears fresh corn, washed, shucked, and corn silk removed (NOTE: I was lucky! I think I got the last of summer’s corn at the farmer’s market last weekend. In the middle of winter, I’d opt for a nice organic brand’s frozen variety.)
1 small Serrano pepper, washed, cored and seeded, and cut in julienne (NOTE: This is totally optional…..if you like spicy, go for it, otherwise no big deal to leave it out. You’ll get some spice from the chipotle and adobo anyway.)
Big handful of cilantro leaves, washed, dried well, and chopped fine (NOTE: If you’re not a fan of cilantro, I don’t understand you, but you could also use parsley or mint.)
For the dressing:
1 cup of plain yogurt (NOTE: I used 2% strained Greek yogurt for this recipe)
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1-2 limes
1 tbsp. honey
1/2 chipotle pepper packed in adobo, seeded and chopped fine
1 tsp. – 1 tbsp. of adobo sauce, depending on how smoky and spicy you want your dressing
1. Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil on the stove. Place another large bowl of ice water on the countertop. While waiting for the water on the stove to boil, combine cabbage, jicama, red onion, Asian pear, radish, corn, optional Serrano pepper, and cilantro in a large workbowl.
2. In yet another workbowl, combine yogurt, mayonnaise, and lime zest. Stir to combine. Stir in enough lime juice to slightly thin out and smooth out the mixture. Taste it. If you want more acidity, add more lime juice…..otherwise, leave it alone. Add honey, chipotle, and adobo and stir to combine. Season to taste with kosher salt.
3. Place corn cobs in the boiling salted water. Cook for about 3 minutes, and then dunk them right into the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Cut the kernels away from the cob and add to the bowl of vegetables and Asian pear.
4. Pour dressing over the other ingredients and stir to coat with the dressing. Serve immediately as the salt content of the dressing will begin to break down the ingredients and make it watery.
Yield: This made us a big ol’ metal bowl-o-slaw – like a good 5 or 6 cups. You can use it on its own, for seafood taco filling, in a sandwich with pulled pork, or serve with barbecuePrinter Friendly