Ode to Red Bowl, continued. The best buttermilk salad dressing ever.

A few weeks ago, I bought a Napa cabbage bigger than my head. Actually, it was bigger than my entire abdomen. Chances are, I’ll be eating Napa cabbage for breakfast, lunch and dinner just to get rid of this thing (I think I’m set until Christmas). Luckily, I have a recipe that will make it a lot easier to swallow. Literally.

This recipe is adapted yet again from one of my favorite blogs, but it’s clearly a keeper. Smittenkitchen.com starts off her post by talking about the ridiculous $10+ salad bars in NYC. I must confess, I fall into the same trap and it drives me crazy. (Good thing I have a watermelon-sized cabbage in the fridge to deter me for a while).

The buttermilk dressing in this recipe will make you rethink ever buying bottled salad dressing again. It’s a great way to use up extra buttermilk (does anyone really know what to do with it after baking or making pancakes?). It’s also quick to throw together. All you really need to do is chop the shallots and whisk. Occasionally, after a long day of work, that little bit of chopping seems excessive, but trust me, those shallots are like winning is to Charlie Sheen. The dressing would not be the same without them.

This isn’t exclusively for Napa cabbage, either. It’s equally delicious on romaine or red leaf lettuce topped with croutons, grilled chicken, or fish, or pretty much anything you can think of. The original recipe adds extra sugar, but I skipped that and it’s still addicting in every way. I’ve also tried it without the mayonnaise, and while it’s not quite as creamy, the flavor makes up for it. I just love the way the sourness of the buttermilk compliments the mild flavor of the cabbage. It’s basically a down and dirty slaw. It’s so light and refreshing, it will make you wish it was summer (even though it still doesn’t even feel like spring yet).

Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
Adapted from Gourmet, November 2007 and smittenkitchen.com

1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (or veganaise)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 pound Napa cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
1 cup edamame, shelled and cooked
6 radishes, sliced into rounds
1 red pepper, cut into 1-inch strips
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise, vinegar, shallots, salt, and pepper. Toss cabbage, radishes, edamame and red pepper together. Pour dressing over top and mix well.

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