It’s hard to articulate why I find this salad to be so covertly revolutionary, but it is. If there is one thing that Jamie Oliver has always done well, it appears to be salads. I recall watching “The Naked Chef” on TV many years ago, when he was basically a toddler, and lanky skinny, and so kinetically overloaded that he rocked from foot to foot and used his hands no matter what he was doing, no matter how briefly. Hyperactive, they call that. The frantic energy helped to form giant platter salads, heaped with produce, in a dizzying and voluptuous display. And even years later, in his US food reform TV show: teaching poor eaters to chop their salads right on massive cutting boards, and to set the entire board in the middle of the table, triggering those nascent rabbit-brains to gorge.
His “Rainbow Salad” is a similar lesson in simplicity; grated vegetables, heaped in inartistic piles, while eaters make a dressing in their own bowls, to be topped with tongs of veggies.
Mike loved it, to my incapacitating amazement. He loved that the salad wasn’t pre-dressed (he does not eat coleslaw unless as a topping for pulled pork sandwiches), and that to some degree one could control the quantities of each vegetable.
I tried to follow the book’s instruction on grating everything and then turning the whole bowl out onto a platter, but this recipe makes a shit-ton of salad, and my food processor bowl capacity cannot accommodate all the veggies at once. I wish I had a giant platter so I could have separated the piles better, and I wish the recipe didn’t call for one-quarter of two different cabbages. Because of this last point, I violated the Prime Recipe Testing Directive a second time, and use half a red cabbage and zero green cabbage. Half a leftover cabbage is better than three-quarters of two cabbages that I will never get around to eating.
Actually, I’m lying. I went way offroad here. My resolve finally broke. I knew what I wanted, and it wasn’t exactly what Mr. Oliver was suggesting, so that was that. I left out the walnuts, and I did not even think about making a dressing with Worcestershire sauce or Tabasco sauce. Otherwise still the same salad. Sort of. It originally called for pears, which were too soft and mild and I wished I’d used Granny Smith apples instead. Otherwise: same salad. Also later I realized that I should have used half a green cabbage instead of a red, for greater color contrast. OTHERWISE IT IS EXACTLY THE SAME.
Shredded Rainbow Salad
adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain
2 raw beets, scrubbed very clean
1/2 green cabbage
2 large carrots
2 green apples
fresh parsley, fresh mint, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
serve with ingredients for dressing:
balsamic or red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
honey or maple syrup
or make a slaw dressing to serve:
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1/3 cup fat-free or low-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 finely chopped green onion or one bunch of chives
salt and pepper to taste
- If you have a food processor, use the grater attachment. If you do not, use a box grater and have someone standing by with band-aids. If using the fo-pro, grate each item in this order, one at a time, and dump the piles out onto a platter as you go: beets, red cabbage, carrot, green cabbage and then green apples.
- Finely chop the herbs and green onion and scatter over the top of everything on the platter.
- Either allow everyone to make their own dressings in their bowls, or make a small gravy boat of slaw dressing to use and save yourself the 10 minutes it will take to coach everyone on how to make their own dressing. Let everyone serve their own salad.
October 14th, 2012 | Make It So