Red cabbage is a very healthy vegetable but I tend to avoid it in salads because of its tough often stringy texture. As I recently discovered, however, this problem disappears if the cabbage is left in a light curing mixture overnight. It can be used already the following day! There are so many advantages to using cured rather than raw cabbage in a salad!
First of all, it tastes great! Not only that, but because it’s infused with flavour (sweet, sour and salty) it doesn’t require any dressing other than maybe a little drizzle of lemon juice or olive oil just before serving. This makes preparation time simpler and shorter.
The process of curing gives the cabbage a vibrant purple colour which is so much more appealing than a faded purple greyish it would eventually turn without being cured!
Another plus of curing the cabbage is that it makes it softer, but not soggy, still allowing it to retain some crunch, as it is only cured for about 12 hours. This salad does not share the life cycle of most salads made with raw ingredients (ie. from crunchy to soggy) and, if left to stand for a while, its texture will not change. So you can leave leftovers in the fridge for a few hours and enjoy them later!
Any leftover cured cabbage can be kept in the fridge in an air tight container for 2-3 days. Add to salads, sandwiches or soups.
350 g red cabbage (about 1/2 medium sized cabbage), grated or sliced thinly
2 small/medium pears (conference or other crunchy variety), cubed or sliced, peeled or not
1/2 cup walnuts, lightly crushed
2 tablespoons coriander, roughly chopped
A drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil, black pepper to taste
For the curing mixture
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 level teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
Coarsely grate or slice (thinly) the cabbage (without using the tough middle bit of the cabbage which can be chopped up and added to soup). Combine the curing ingredients and pour over the cabbage stirring thoroughly. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
To make the salad combine the cabbage with the pears, coriander, walnuts, season and drizzle with oil and lemon juice.