|Radicchio Slaw with Warm Honey Dressing|
For those of you reading this in the United States, I hope you have a Happy Tax Day!
This past weekend, Mrs. Stuntman and I celebrated our ninth anniversary. Readers of my last website might remember we ate at the Michelin-starred Lucé in San Francisco two years ago, but I didn't address the event in 2012 so I wanted to this year. We decided to celebrate at home with our daughter. Probably Mrs. Stuntman's favorite component of my last dish I published was the Asian cole slaw, so I thought this might work well. I also liked this dish from a practical standpoint because mis en place could be prepared in advance and it didn't use a lot of dishes so I could utilize them for other courses.
While the execution of this dish is fairly simple, the challenge here won't be fully realized until I reveal the other two courses. Namely, to compose a well-balanced tasing menu because I'm finding that putting components harmoniously together on a plate or over a multi-course meal has proven more challenging than the preparation itself.
Adapted from page 81 of Michael Chiarello's Casual Cooking by Michael Chiarello with Janet Fletcher.
1 medium size head radicchio
1/2 head Napa cabbage
1 bunch watercress
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Quarter the radicchio through the core but then remove the core from each wedge. Cut the leaves into 1/8-inch wide ribbons. Halve the cabbage in a similar fashion, remove the core, and slice it into similarly 1/8-inch wide ribbons. Place both types of leaves into a large bowl and cover with ice water, then soak for 20 minutes. Drain and soak again in fresh ice water for an additional 20 minutes. Drain a second time, pat dry and set aside. Cut any thick stems from the watercress and set aside.
2. Make the dressing: Toast the fennel seeds in a dry small skillet over medium low heat until the seeds are lightly brown and aromatic, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Allow them to cool, then grind the seeds in a mortar or spice grinder.
Combine the honey, vinegar, and ground fennel seeds in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the honey dissolves. Remove from heat and whisk in the olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.
3. Toss the radicchio, cabbage, and watercress in a large bowl and add enough dressing to coat. Adjust seasoning, if necessary, then serve immediately.
From an execution standpoint, Mrs. Stuntman thought I under-dressed the dish which was partially due to the ratio of dressing prepared to the amount of slaw to be dressed. In other words, there wasn't enough dressing so I recommend doubling the dressing ingredients. This dish did, however, work well with the entreé course which I hope to publish later this week.