It’s rare that we find ourselves in the position of having to execute a Saturday night dinner while the clock is ticking — as I’ve mentioned before, we like our weekend meals to be all-day affairs — but this was the situation we found ourselves in a few nights ago. We had just spent six hours shuttling our two ballerinas back and forth to their recitals and because the girls’ mother (yours truly) had hastily prepared snacks for the marathon (two walnut-sized apricots and a Ziploc of trail mix), we had two starving performers on our hands when we finally walked in the door at 8:00.
The choreography for dinners like these is so rehearsed we barely even have to discuss who plays which part: Andy turns his attention to the main (frying some fresh flounder we had picked up at the farmer’s market earlier) and I focus on the sides: some leftover barley salad from the night before (page 245 of my book) and an Asian-inspired slaw I had been dreaming about all through Abby’s Tarantella. And after about 20 minutes of pas de bouree-ing around each other, we all sat down for the second big show of the night.
This slaw is in danger of becoming the only salad I will make all summer. It’s so clean-tasting and healthy and can be turned into a meal in its own right by tossing in some shrimp or shredded chicken. It goes faster if you can buy pre-shredded cabbage, but if you can’t, just do your best to slice the head as thin as possible.
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
salt to taste
1 teaspoon fish sauce (available at Asian specialty stores and better supermarkets)
lime juice from half a lime
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger (crucial)
1 drop of hot sauce (or 1 tsp minced jalapeno or serrano chile)
1/3 cup neutral oil like grapeseed or vegetable oil
2 to 3 large handfuls of shredded red cabbage
half a handful of shredded baby spinach
1 handful of shredded carrots
1 handful raw sugar snap peas (trimmed and chopped)
1 bunch (about 5-6) scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
handful of chopped peanuts (optional) to taste
In a large bowl whisk together all the dressing ingredients. To the same bowl, add all salad ingredients and toss until combined. If you are afraid your kids won’t touch it, separate out the components you are sure they will like and reserve some dressing for them as a dip.
Reminder: Tell me your favorite part of the book (not on this page, but through the official contest survey) and be eligible to win some pretty awesome prizes. You have until July 9 to enter so get reading!