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A friend once cautioned me that it was cheaper to cook one cuisine than a half-dozen.  Makes sense, but my palate has a shorter attention span than a six-year-old who mawed a sack of Halloween candy.  I get bored if my kitchen turns out two meals from the same subcontinent of flavors in the same day.

But this cabbage and jicama slaw is so cuisine-ambidextrous, it complements a variety of flavors without breaking the bank.

The slaw’s versatility comes from the subtlety of its ingredients, none of which dominate the profile.  The base of red cabbage maintains consistency with traditional American coleslaw, making this recipe great on a barbecue sandwich or a hot dog.  Grilling the cabbage takes the edge off and introduces a nutty flavor, so the slaw can double as a side dish with a cheese plate or a French roast.  Jicama adds a mild sweetness and makes the slaw compatible with Latin food — try it on fish tacos.  Finally, sesame seeds make the slaw work with Asian flavors — use it to dress a teriyaki chicken sandwich or Korean tacos.  The slaw will last up to 5 days in the fridge.

See below for recipe.

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Grilled Red Cabbage + Jicama Sesame Slaw

Yield:  1.5-2 quarts (suggest halving the recipe for a family of two)

  • 1 small head red cabbage
  • 1 small jicama
  • olive oil
  • coarse salt
  • fresh-ground pepper
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp roasted sesame seeds

Slice cabbage into 3/4″ thick steaks (this is just 5-6 vertically-oriented cuts).  Drizzle cabbage steaks with olive oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides.  Grill cabbage at 350-400°F for about 10 minutes per side, or until the firmest veins begin to soften.

Meanwhile, peel the jicama and shred it on the finest matchstick setting on a mandoline (can also use a hand grater or food processor).  Finely chop the cabbage when removed from the grill and allowed to cool slightly.

Toss jicama, cabbage, lime juice, honey, more coarse salt (to taste, you’ll probably need at least 2-3 tsp.), and sesame seeds in large bowl, combining well.  Store air-tight in refrigerator up to 5 days.

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