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Savoy Cabbage Salad

15 April

1 head Savoy cabbage, cut into quarters, then into 1/8-inch strips
1 tablespoon finely slivered orange zest
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons finely sliced scallions
1 small green garlic, minced
8 radishes, cut into rounds, then thinly sliced into strips
½ cup grated carrot

1. Blanch the orange zest for about 10 seconds to get rid of any bitterness. Toast the sesame seeds in the same pan until the white ones begin to color.
2. Combine the cabbage, onions, garlic, radishes, carrot, and cilantro then toss with the dressing below.

The Dressing:
1 scant teaspoon Sichuan or black peppercorns
4 teaspoons freshly chopped ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon red chili oil, or if you don’t have the oil, use a finely minced small jalapeno or serrano pepper
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1. Lightly toast the peppercorns in a dry skillet until the aroma is released, about 10-20 seconds; then grind them in an electric spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and whisk together. Be sure to taste and adjust flavors if necessary, as different brands of soy sauce and oils can vary greatly.
2. Variations:  Add small cubes of firm tofu; or include the orange segments; or use mandarin oranges or tangerines in place of the orange.