I’m restless. It must be the hot, loud whisper of a new season on my neck. Plus, June and its impending solstice is always full of dreams: popsicles like fruit drippings, street music, shorts with long-legged praise, older men on their stoops, sunning themselves, singing each praise like a sermon. Outings way past dusk (which hardly comes at all).
These, and other things: like sand, and outdoor-umbrella-sunny brunches, like the one I had this weekend, where you clink mimosa glasses with an old college friend and have to spread the coconut-rum butter across your french toast before it melts sloppily in its own bowl in the heat; these are the things that crust summer with glow.
Red cabbage, like summer, has to be one of the most gorgeous things to cut into: right up there with heirloom tomatoes and nectarines. It’s purple… but then streaky with white like marbled fat on a hunk of good steak… and what more could you want out of a vegetable than a bloody steak? Honestly, very little. Wink along, I’m kidding.
A satisfying salad for me, doesn’t come plated with a picky long list of criteria: my only real rule is, it ought to be fresh-forward. In this one, the snap peas are snappy and crisp like a spread of fallen leaves. The whole bowl is color flaunt-y rather than color-conservative, which I like — the cabbage is bold and plummy as the lipstick tint I should be wearing. The asparagus is lemony and just barely tender. If you’ve got a whisk, the dressing takes under two minutes to make, ginger-grating included.
While you’re snapping your sugar peas, with maybe a fan blowing, I hope you’ll also indulge something from your premature summer list: uncork that white wine for a long-stemmed glass and a long-stemmed swig with evening plans for live-anything (music, stand-up, ballet, breakdance), pack your canvas beach duffle, reach for the summer read, the bicycle, the rollerblades. Call an old friend for brunch.
Best we get a head start.
- 2 cups asparagus spears, chopped
- 2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed
- 3 1/2 cups red cabbage, sliced thin
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1″ piece fresh ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- toasted sesame seeds to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
Blanche sugar snaps and asaparagus spears about 2-3 minutes in a pot of of well-salted boiling water. Remove vegetables from pot using a slotted spoon, plunging them immediately into a cold ice bath.
Meanwhile prepare the dressing, whisking together all of the ingredients until smooth.
Drain and pat dry the veggies. Chop sugar snaps into halves or thirds. In a large serving bowl, combine cabbage, asparagus and sugar snaps with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over with dressing and toss gently to coat evenly. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.