I come across recipes all the time that start out fancy, get simple in the middle, and end up kind of fancy at the end. Does that make any sense? Probably not. I’ve been confusing myself lately so how can I expect anyone else to understand my brain.
Basically, when you look at this recipe, it’s full of fancy-like ingredients (as in, you might not have all of them just hanging out in the fridge… and, if you do, all I can say is la-di-dah, Monsieur Fancy Pants). The middle bit, making the recipe itself, is super easy. And, then when you eat it, well… it tastes kind of fancy. Not overly fussy, just enough to feel good about yourself. And, yes, the original recipe is from epicrack.
Red Cabbage Salad with Warm Pancetta-Balsamic Dressing
- ¼ C dried currants (cranberries or raisins will do)
- 3 T balsamic vinegar
- 6 C thinly sliced red cabbage (from about ½ medium head)
- 1 3-oz package thinly sliced pancetta (prosciutto will also work), finely chopped
- 1 T finely chopped shallot
- 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ C whole almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped
- ¼ C chopped fresh Italian parsley
Place currants in small bowl. Heat vinegar in saucepan over medium heat until hot (do not boil). Pour vinegar over currants; let soak until currants soften, 15-20 minutes.
Place cabbage in large bowl; set aside. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pancetta; sauté until brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Add shallot to pancetta and drippings in skillet; sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in currant-vinegar mixture and olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Pour pancetta mixture over cabbage and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand 5-10 minutes. Add almonds and parsley; toss to blend.
As you can see from this picture, I was a bit shy on the red cabbage so I threw in a few handfuls of mixed greens. Still tasted scrumptious. Stirring in the pancetta mix while it’s warm is key so that the heat and vinegar wilt the cabbage a touch. (Don’t worry. You’re not going to get a wilty salad… think of it as a veg tenderizer.) And, typically, I’d say just omit the meat to make this vegetarian friendly, but you really need the salty goodness that the pancetta provides. If you don’t have that, you just have cabbage.