Monday, April 15, 2013

Anniversary Dinner 2013 Appetizer Course: Radicchio Slaw with Warm Honey Dressing

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.

The Challenge

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.

The Source

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
Ice water
1 bunch watercress
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar white wine vinegar
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.


  1. Simple and healthy slaw,i like the addition of warm honey on this slaw.

  2. You are absolutely right! Individual courses aren't usually to hard to execute, but when you look at the full picture it's hard to make the whole meal work seamlessly together. Sometimes that is hard to explain to people as well! Great job though, it sounds and looks great :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  3. Mmm - sounds good to me! I've only recently discovered how much I love fennel seeds (especially in salads). Sounds like a perfect way to start the meal! :)


Feedback is always welcomed. If you're going to be critical, be constructive. In other words, be nice.