Dill and cabbage have two things in common:
- They love each other (as in, their flavors complement perfectly).
- They come in MONSTER portions.
If you buy a whole cabbage, you got some cabbage eatin’ to do. The things are massive. For me and Steve, a quarter of your average cabbage shredded nets us at least two meals as a side salad, one big-ass salad as a meal. I obviously love the stuff—that’s what “chou” means in French, where it’s a term of endearment like “pumpkin”, which my dad used to call me—or I wouldn’t have little cabbages all over the site. But man, a little goes a long way.
Similarly, dill is beautiful stuff. It’s pretty to look at, smells great, and goes with a ton of vegetables and other things. Which is why, perhaps, the idea with dill at a market, be it super or farmers, is that More Is More. I have never been able to get away with buying just a few sprigs of dill, which is one reason it’s a great plant to grow in a kitchen garden, where you can just clip off a few leaves.
This lovely, super-easy salad uses up a fair amount of both. It also introduces a really cool pickling technique that makes the cabbage nice and crisp while alleviating some of its natural bitterness; the sharpness of the onion gets softened in the process.
Ginger Dill Cabbage Slaw Step by Step
Shred about 1/4 of an average (meaning pretty big) cabbage, and about 1/4 to a 1/3 of an onion. At my house, this is plenty for 3-4 people as a side salad. Then again, we don’t eat that much.
The next part may seem a bit strange; I really worried that it would give me soggy cabbage. Don’t worry, it doesn’t. Sprinkle your cabbage and onions with about a tablespoon of kosher salt. You’re not going to eat this, it’s just for pickling. Then add water to the bowl to cover the veggies. Let that sit about an hour.
Mix up your dressing: about a lemon, squeezed into a small bowl, 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, and a half-inch or so of grated ginger. Toasting and crushing some fennel seed adds great flavor. You can add a little salt and pepper to taste, but wait until after you’ve tossed the salad with the dill; the cabbage is going to pick up some of the salt from the pickling process, and you don’t want to overdo it.
Pour the cabbage and onions into a colander and run some water over them to rinse off excess salt. Drain completely. Add to a bowl big enough to toss the salad. Add a good half cup cup of chopped dill.
Enjoy. I love it as a side to a sandwich, like this grilled broccoli/artichoke number adapted from this Half Baked Harvest recipe. But later in the week, I topped a quesadilla made from leftovers with the slaw, and it was pretty awesome, and still plenty crunchy.