An unseasonable mid-week warm up has pushed my braised red cabbage off the menu. So in order to satisfy my craving for that cruciferous vegetable, this cool and crisp slaw comes in to play.
Tart green apples and aromatic fennel are combined with thinly sliced cabbage. As much as I enjoy the raw, anise-like flavor of fennel, it is better suited for this recipe when it is briefly blanched. Chilling the apples, fennel and cabbage in ice water helps them retain a nice crunch. Just remember to thoroughly dry them before tossing with the dressing. A soggy slaw is not good eats. Sweetness, tartness, and plenty of crunch make this slaw a winner salad or side to many pork and chicken sandwiches and dishes.
Apple and Fennel Slaw
1 head of green cabbage, about 2 to 2 1/2 lbs. , quarted, cored, and thinly sliced
Ice water as needed
1 lemon, halved
4 medium fennel bulbs
4 large Granny Smith apples
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 granulated sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 Tablespoons milk (I do not recommend skim), plus more as needed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 green onions, including tender green parts, thinly sliced
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Place the sliced cabbage in a large bowl and add ice water to cover, set aside.
Fill another large bowl with ice water and squeeze the juice of half the lemon into it. Bring a large saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high-heat and add the juice of the remaining lemon half.
Cut the stems and feather fronds off of the fennel bulbs and remove any bruised or discolored leaves. Working with one bulb at a time, cut the bulb in half lengthwise and cut out any tough core parts. Using a mandoline or by hand, slice each half into matchsticks and place immediately into the bowl of lemon water. Repeat with the remaining bulbs. When all of the fennel bulbs are cut, transfer with a slotted spoon to the boiling water and blanch for 30 seconds. (Reserve the lemon water for the apples.) Drain the blanched fennel and rinse under cold water. Transfer the fennel to a fresh bowl of ice water; set aside.
Working with one apple at a time, quarter it and cut away the core. Starting with the rounded side, slice each quarter into matchsticks on the mandoline and place immediately in the lemon water. Repeat with the remaining apples.
In another bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, the 2 tablespoons of milk, and the salt. Taste for seasoning. The dressing should be sweet and tangy and the consistency should be pourable, not thick.
Drain the cabbage and pat dry. Drain the fennel, pat dry, and add to the cabbage. Drain the apples, pat dry, and add to the cabbage. Add the green onions and parsley. Pour the dressing over and mix well to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from williams-sonoma.com