A crunchy cabbage slaw is one of my favorite salads throughout the winter and early spring, and a restaurant here in town makes what is perhaps my favorite slaw: a deceptively simple mix of cabbage, peanuts, and rice vinegar with oil. It's all in how you cut the cabbage: their mix is light and feathery, delicate and yet satisfying at the same time. This is my attempt to imitate it, and it's also a basic element in one of my favorite meals for a crowd. I'll give you the other half of that meal a little later today.
Crunchy Peanut Slaw
1 big bowl of slaw, serves at least 8
1 medium head green cabbage, outer leaves removed
1 1/2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts
1 bunch green onions
1 cup chopped cilantro (about two big handfuls unchopped)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup light oil, like canola
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar (or more, to taste)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce (or more, to taste)
Shred the cabbage very finely. The fineness of the shredded cabbage is really what makes this salad; you want it in in threads, almost, and with the threads chopped into bite-size lengths. Toss with the peanuts in a large bowl. Chop the scallions, including the green and white parts. Toss the scallions and chopped cilantro with the cabbage, seasoning very lightly with salt and pepper.
Whisk the dressing until emulsified, then taste and adjust to your own preferences of sweetness and saltiness.
Toss with the cabbage. Garnish with a few more peanuts and serve.