Red cabbage is another thing I always seem to be left with though I often make far more than I need and raid the leftovers for the next few months. However, the freshness of a good winter salad makes me inclined to save some in its raw state. This recipe contains beetroot, which I don't normally love, but it fits in beautifully as you'd expect from Allegra McEvedy, the inspired culinary brain behind the Leon restaurant chain, and a much-published author in her own right. In my youth, if you were lucky enough to have a pomegranate it was traditional to remove the seeds with a large safety pin, so it took most of Christmas to eat it. A faster way is to halve the fruit and bash each half on the base with a meat-hammer to dislodge the seeds.
Allegra McEvedy's Winter Crunch Salad
Serves four as a side or starter, two as a main course
- 300g red cabbage, sliced
- 100ml red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp golden granulated sugar
- 1 beetroot, about 150g peeled and grated
- 3 tbsp natural yoghurt
- Stick of celery
- 1 pomegranate, seeded (go for one with a deep red skin)
- 1 big Jerusalem artichoke, roughly 150g scrubbed, not peeled
- 1 bunch radishes
- Drizzle of great oil – any nut oil works well but walnut is best here
- Squeeze of lemon
In a wide frying-pan on a low heat, dissolve the sugar in the vinegar. As it comes up to a simmer, drop in the cabbage, breaking up any big clumps. Cover with the lid for a couple of minutes, then remove the lid, give the cabbage a shuffle and, over the next five minutes, let the remaining liquid boil off.
While that's happening, halve the radishes and thinly slice the celery and the Jerusalem artichoke. Put these into a bowl of cold, preferably iced water to stay crisp and to stop the artichoke discolouring.
Mix the grated beetroot with the yoghurt and seasoning in a small bowl. Seed the pomegranate (see above) – you will only need half for this recipe but you might as well do the whole thing as these ruby seeds make the best snack in the world.
Once all the liquid has gone, transfer the cabbage to a plate and stick somewhere cold (ie outside) to cool down for a minute.
Now build: lightly pickled cabbage on the bottom, then a layer of thinly sliced artichoke, a pile of creamy beets and a scattering of celery, radishes and pomegranate seeds. Finish it all off with a healthy drizzle of walnut oil and a good squeeze of lemon.
The earthy flavours and piquant acidity here need a juicy pinot noir.