Once, during my stint on register for Pies 'N' Thighs in Brooklyn, New York, a cook named Nadine put out a small bowl at family meal: apples, red onion, parsley, and toasted pepitas. Family meal was often a time of existential exhaustion, but this combination of food still wakes me up.
I love this salad. It's flexible. I used to omit the olive oil so I could revel in the shocking, sweet water crunch, and think about the nuttiness of cabbage. —peanut butter music
a few leaves napa cabbage
firm, crisp apple
apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper
roasted pepitas (or nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts)
Cut the shallot into thin slices. Rub them in your fingers with a pinch of salt and set aside in a large bowl to macerate.
Pluck off the leaves of parsley and discard the stems. If you're not in the mood, you can dice the stems finely and fade into a coarse chop towards the leaves. Add this to the shallots.
Cut the cabbage leaves as thin as you can. There shouldn't be too much cabbage; just enough to suspend the other ingredients. Add it to the parsley.
Core the apple and cut it into more thin slices. Sometimes, I want to cut them further, into matchsticks. Spread the apple over the cabbage, making sure that the thin slices are not all stuck together.
Take one half of the lemon and pour its juice over the apples. Then splash the pile with some apple cider vinegar, or the other half of your lemon, or whatever clear vinegar you have handy. In any case, it's a pretty acidic salad.
Toss, adding salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste.
Now for roasted pepitas. Put them on your salad and serve. (Roasted nuts will need to be broken up a bit.)