Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Boiled cabbage salad 茹でキャベツのサラダ

I made this from left-over 1/4 small head of cabbage after making pepper slaw. This a rather healthy salad which definitely can be served in an Izakaya.

Here is a close up of the salad. The dressing is rather classic Japanese style; mayo with sesame.

Cabbage: I had a small 1/4 head of cabbage left. We had enough raw cabbage (slaws), I decided to make boiled cabbage salad. I removed the core and cut the cabbage into about 1 inch squares. For color and texture, I also added a carrot. I peeled and thinly sliced one medium carrot on the bias. I cooked both together in salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes and drained. I could have just let it to cool down but since I did not have enough time for such a lengthy process, I shocked it in ice water. I drained and then squeezed out the excess moisture by wringing the pieces in a paper towel (right in the image below.)

Dressing: I made sesame/mayo dressing. I first roasted white sesame seeds (2 tbs) in a dry frying pan for a few minutes or until fragrant. I tipped it into a Japanese mortar and ground it coarsely (left on the image above).  The roasting process really brought out the flavor and fragrance of the sesame. I mixed in mayonnaise (2 tbs) , plain yogurt (2 tbs), and soy sauce (1 tsp). Adding plain yogurt is optional (if you do not use yogurt, increase the amount of mayo). Adding yogurt does not dilute the mayo flavor but it reduces the fat in the dressing. If you were not told, you would not be able to tell that this dressing contains half yogurt.

I tossed the boiled cabbage and carrot using a half of the dressing. In the bottom of the glass bowl, I put a small mound of baby arugula and placed the dressed cabbage on the top. I skinned one medium tomato (I placed it in the same boiling water in which the cabbage was cooked for 20 seconds and then put in the ice water) and quartered. I put them on the side. I also had microwave "sakamushi" or sake steamed chicken breast and added a few slices. I then drizzled the remaining dressing over it.

This is a very nice salad. The roasted and freshly ground sesame really makes this dish. By adding plain yogurt, the dressing is not as high in fat as it tastes--which is like it is made of 100 percent mayonnaise. The cabbage was just cooked enough but still maintained a fresh and sweet taste. Even my wife who is not very fond of cabbage thought this was nice dish

We had a bottle of red wine form Ribera Del Duero, Spain, with this dish. We keep finding reasonably priced good wines from this region of Spain. This is called "Ribera del Duero Bodegas Balbas Reserva 2001". This wine is made of 100% Tempranillo. It has a nice distinctive cedar-y nose. The palate is not too flashy but very nice and black fruit upfront with spices leading to well-integrated smooth tannin. It lingers in your mouth quite sometime. For 2001 vintage, this one has a nice balance of age and youthfulness. This one got 93 from WS and we agree with this score.

"Highly Recommended'
"This spicy red shows an alluring mix of ripe fruit, with more mature flavors of tobacco, leather and cedar. The tannins are well-integrated and softening, while the acidity is still fresh and crisp."

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