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The other day I picked up a small head of green cabbage at the local health food store. While I was in line, the cashier and a woman behind me were talking about using cabbage in salads in addition to, or in place of lettuce. I am wild about cabbage, and when a Twitter friend of mine posted a recipe that featured apples, and tarragon, an idea was born. I haven't tried this with fresh fennel, I can only imagine how the dish would change. Suitable as a hearty main dish, or intriguing side, I love how the crunch of the cabbage and celery contrasts with the sweet fennel seeds, bright berries, and the lime squeeze blooms the apple flavors while drawing out the juice. I rarely measure things, so feel free to let your inspiration and inredients guide you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 C fresh green cabbagge
  • 1 apple, preferably a tart variety
  • 1 t fennel seeds
  • 1/4 lime, lemon, or possibly a zesty orange
  • 1/4 C celery
  • 1/8 C dried cranberries 

For those who prefer ratio recipes:

Aim for twice as much cabbage as apple, twice as much apple as celery, and twice as much celery as cranberries. This would probably still be good if you skipped the fennel seeds, but I think the unexpected flavor burst in your mouth is what makes this salad come alive.

After slicing or chopping your cabbage, gather it together, and start massaging it. If you have never massaged cabbage or its heartier cousin, kale, the idea is to start breaking down the vegetable fibers to release the juices, and make the leaves more tender. You're done when water starts coming out of your leaves, or you feel like being done. Peel and slice your apple if it is not organic. I used a Pink Lady apple that wasn't organic so the rosy peel went down my garbage disposal. I can imagine Granny Smith apples making a delightful contribution to this as well. Sprinkle your fennel seeds, chopped celery, and scatter your cranberries over your cabbage apple mixture. Gently squeeze your lime over everything, and toss to combine. Wait time allows the flavors to blend and develop, but if you cheat by eating it right away, I'll never tell.

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