Seven years ago, we came to San Francisco and spent a day with our friends, walking and talking. It was time for lunch when we were passing by the Ferry Building Marketplace. “You have to try this red cabbage salad!” — said my friend and led us to The Slanted Door. Check the menu — the salad is still there! Though the details of the recipe could’ve changed since 2010, the description includes the same main ingredients: “grapefruit & jicama, red cabbage, pickled carrot, candied pecan.” If you were curious to check the links, you probably guessed what made this salad remarkable. No need to be an expert to recognize its Asian roots. I liked it!
…oh, so easy to love!
The original recipe was easy to find and a story of this salad in my kitchen began. Since then, there were many variations with two main ingredients — red cabbage and grapefruit — intact and other included, excluded, and substituted.
I found kohlrabi and pear suitable replacements for jicama. I added thinly sliced kumquats to grapefruit segments. I tried different glazed, caramelized, or toasted nuts. I used different Asian style dressings — made from scratch or a mix of store-bought, depending on how lazy I felt or what was handy.
Serving this salad with either cooked or cured and smoked duck breast was always a success. The recipe below is a version I make most often.
Wash red cabbage head and remove tough outer leaves. Shred it. Always shred red cabbage thinly for raw salads. Add salt and pepper, gently toss. No need to massage it. Let it stay for a few minutes, and salt will draw the juices to make cabbage softer.
Meanwhile, peel and julienne carots and jicama. You can do it using a knife, or a julienne hand slicer/mandoline (see Recipe Notes below).
Peel grapefruit and cut the segments (see Recipe Notes for instructional video).
Combine all dressing ingredients. Julienne half of the mint leaves. In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, carrot, jicama, half of grapefruit segments, and julienned mint with the dressing.
Portion salad on 4 plates and arrange the rest of grapefruit segments, mint leaves, and pecans on top. Enjoy!