A wintry pressed salad recipe made with red cabbage, carrots, and fresh ginger, and finished with slivers of kumquat and fresh squeezed blood orange juice.
I’ve written before about the ways this job can feel silly. Sitting down to write a post, wondering how I can write about salad as the curtain rises on a political horror show in the background. There’s a chasm between my life writing about and photographing food and the real fear I have about the world outside the kitchen.
Some days – like today – I do my best to create a refuge from it all. I make a point of eating well. I head to the kitchen and go through the rhythm of making sourdough, starting a ferment, or chopping vegetables as a respite. But a refuge can’t become a permanent retreat from harsh realities; it’s a place to recharge and fortify. So I’m taking pains not to hide away and making myself ready to listen and fight. After a day working on my own projects, I wake up full of piss and vinegar and set about making my calls and writing my letters and doing what I can in my community.
Since fortifying myself has been top of mind, this pressed salad has become a regular part of my kitchen routine. It’s really easy to make and takes a lot of the work out of winter vegetables. The ingredients are tossed with a bit of salt and acid, pressed, and left to mellow on the countertop. My version is inspired by Amy Chaplin’s recipe in her book At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen, and features red cabbage, carrots, red onion, fresh ginger and turmeric, plus slivers of tart kumquats and a squeeze of blood orange. It’s satisfying and vibrant with bracing bits of ginger and a mellow crunch. The salad keeps beautifully, even for a few days, so it’s great to keep on hand through the week.
Friends, thanks for reading. As soon as I get this post up, I’m off to make my signs for the Women’s March on Washington. I’ll be in DC on Saturday walking hand in hand with my daughter and my sister, and we’ll be making our voices heard. My America is a place that values equality, diversity, and respect for all people, and I’ll never stop standing up for those beliefs.
- 1/2 head red cabbage cored and sliced into thin ribbons
- 1/2 red onion trimmed and thinly sliced
- 2 carrots scrubbed and cut into thin matchsticks
- 4- inch section of ginger, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
- 2- inch section of fresh turmeric, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed blood orange juice (regular oranges are just fine too)
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 - 4 kumquats, sliced paper thin (peel and all) with seeds removed, depending on size
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, lightly toasted
- 2 green onions cut into 1/4- thick rounds
Combine all the salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl, tossing, massaging, and pressing with your hands just as you would with a massaged kale salad. Set a heavy plate or other item that fits snugly over the salad and add weights (a large can or jar is perfect). Set aside on the kitchen counter for 1 - 3 hours, or if pressing longer, in the fridge.
After at least 1 hour, pour off excess liquid.
In a small bowl, make the dressing by whisking to combine blood orange juice, maple syrup, and sesame oil. Drizzle over salad, add kumquat slices, and toss. Plate salad; top with toasted black sesame seeds and green onions.