Red Cabbage Salad with Goat Cheese, Cilantro, Dates, Flax and Black Sesame Seeds

On one hot evening, last week, this is what we had for dinner: veggie burgers, this red cabbage salad recipe that has been perfected over the years, and sweet ripe fresh mango slices. This was the perfect summer meal, so we wanted to share it with you.

 

Ingredients

1.5 pounds (more or less) red cabbage, sliced very thin on a mandolin

2 heaping Tablespoons fresh cilantro, very well chopped

3 Tablespoons your best extra virgin olive oil

2 Tablespoons, fresh lime juice

1 Pinch Salt, 1 pinch black pepper and 1 pinch chili flakes

1 cup pitted dates, coarsely chopped or sliced

8 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

2 or 3 fresh garlic cloves, mashed into the dressing

4 teaspoons well-toasted black sesame seeds

2 Tablespoons toasted flax seeds (optional toasting)

 

Take an up close look at each shred of red cabbage. You’ll see that each one has a surface covered with oil. As a result, the cabbage won’t clump together, as it would, if not made slippery with the olive oil. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Thinly slice the red cabbage on a mandolin. As you know, extremely sharp, so be careful and don’t let your kids use it. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Directions

1. Do all your chopping, slicing, toasting, cutting first.

2. In the salad bowl you’ll use for serving, add the olive oil, lime juice, pinch salt & black pepper, and with a fork, mash the two fresh garlic cloves. Also, add the chili flakes and with the fork, stir the dressing together.

3. Next, add all the cabbage and toss it so that every single piece of cabbage is covered with the dressing. Do this before you add anything else. It’s extremely important to do this now and not later. If you don’t cover each piece of cabbage now with the oil, the drier pieces will clump together and won’t toss well later.

 

Toasting all the black sesame seeds in my smallest pan. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

4. Next, add half of the chopped dates, half of the crumbled cheese, half of the cilantro, half of the flax and black sesame seeds and toss the dressed cabbage, slowly.

Chopping the dates. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Chopping the cilantro. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

5. Finally, sprinkle the salad with the remaining dates, cheese, cilantro and sesame seeds and serve.

6. If you want this salad to be less crunchy, let it sit for a while and the cabbage will soften up a bit.

 

We were recently at Ralph Lauren’s restaurant in midtown Manhattan, (East 50s, so, great for pre-theater dinner), and after ordering a salad, I asked about its wonderful crunch and learned that if you add some baked, very hard bread crumbs, pulverized in a food processor, to toasted black sesame seeds, you will get a pleasing crunch along with the flavor, that’s very satisfying. Might want to try that with this salad recipe or others.

If you bought a mandolin, but it’s turned into a dust gatherer, now you have an excellent reason to use it. There are certain tools that you cannot do without in a 21st Century kitchen, a mandolin is one of them and a food processor is another; a small kitchen scale also comes to mind.

 

In this colorful red cabbage salad, every one of the ingredients adds to the final extremely delicious flavor. I’ve experimented a lot with this recipe and you cannot omit any of these ingredients. I would even go so far as to say, don’t even substitute. Wait until you’re able to include all of them. If you don’t have black sesame seeds, don’t use white, order the black online. I get mine from Whole Foods, Amazon, FreshDirect and Nuts.com. All the other ingredients are readily available in an urban location. Considering, the extremely positive outcome, this is an easy recipe. Just a matter of following a few clear steps.

 

For dessert, we had apple circles cooked in dark brown sugar and brandy. Still working on this; will share when ready. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Here’s a pricy Italian red, 2012 Tignanello, from the renown Antinori Vineyards. This Tuscan red packs a wallop that captures your nose, tingles your palate and satisfies with a long warm finish. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

We saw a different type of play this weekend at one of our theater clubs, where we are patrons, the well known, Manhattan Theater Club, called: Cost of Living. There were two disabled characters (out of four actors) in this drama, played by two actors with those same disabilities. I liked having handicapped actors in those roles. During the play and before the curtain call, you could not tell whether or not the actors were disabled, or acting disabled. It was moving during curtain calls, to see that one young female actor, really had both legs amputated from the knees down, and appeared with her prosthetic legs. There were several themes in this play, certainly one was, “who’s in control,“ and being handicapped does not mean being out of control.

 

We had a long lazy stretch of a welcomed extended weekend and managed to stay out of the sun. Hope you were rested too.

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

 

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