It is hot. Very hot. In Azerbaijan, that is. Here in NY we're having an extended period of early spring-like cold rainy gray days. Never mind that it is June and people elsewhere in the country are eating peaches!
But my friend abroad is hot, so despite the fact that I had a carrot and parsnip latke recipe to post for her, I'm going to skip that and not make her fry anything in this heat. So here is a salad recipe to enjoy using the cabbage that has apparently just come into season in Azerbaijan. For those of us in the U.S. - this recipe will work well as a summery side dish to serve at BBQs or elsewhere in place of our typically mayo-heavy slaws.
Summertime Cabbage and Kidney Bean Salad
Serves a small army
1/2 head green cabbage
2-3 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 pound carrot
1 green bell pepper
1/4 cup (gently packed) cilantro leaves
1 15 ounce can kidney beans (or an equivalent amount of dried beans)
5 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 oranges, peeled, and cut into membrane-free wedges
(If using dried beans, soak overnight and boil until softened through. Drain and cool.)
Using a knife or a food processor, shred the cabbage into thin strips. Put cabbage in a large bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon salt. Let sit while preparing the remaining ingredients.
Finely chop the carrot, bell pepper, and scallion. Add them to the bowl with the cabbage. Coarsely chop the cilantro and add to the bowl. Add the kidney beans and stir to combine.
In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, cider vinegar, olive oil, remaining salt, and red pepper flakes if using. Pour over vegetables and toss to evenly coat. Arrange orange slices on top. Serve immediately, or refrigerate overnight for even better flavor.
Verdict? Refreshing and tangy good. The orange and cilantro together really say "summer" to me. I really wasn't sure this recipe would work with the kidney beans in it but am very pleased with the result. As mentioned in the instructions, this is even better the next day, after the flavors have had a chance to meld. So prepare it a day in advance if you can, but it is still great when eaten right away.