It sounds like a rallying cry, doesn’t it? “Curtido!,” I cry, waving my hat from up on the ramparts. And you are inspired! Inspired to make amazing Salvadoran cabbage slaw.
I haven’t been posting much lately. I think I lost my focus when I had to put my CSA box on hiatus for financial reasons. Makes sense, since the CSA box actually is the focus of the blog, and therefore if there’s no CSA box… Well, we all see where this is going. It’s been great to have a place to plan my weekly menus and stay in touch with my GF and vegan blogger communities, but I definitely seem to be posting much less than I used to.
Today I’m going back to my roots. In My Box is a place to learn what to do with veggies, whether they come in a box or from the farmer’s market or the bargain-bin grocery store. (What up, FoodsCo, my financial salvation!) So here’s my new favorite thing to do with cabbage. It may not be strictly seasonal right now, but it’s always cheap!
One of the awesome cookbooks I got from my awesome mom this Christmas was Terry Hope Romero’s new book about vegan Latin cooking, Viva Vegan. I’ve only made a few recipes from it so far but they have all been excellent. By far my favorite, and one that I keep coming back to again and again, is her recipe for Salvadoran cabbage slaw, aka curtido. Most of the recipes in Viva Vegan range from fairly to extremely complicated. I feel like cooking from it is an investment in learning to cook authentic Latin cuisine, so it’s worth the time and effort, but they aren’t recipes I’ll put in my everyday arsenal.
Curtido, on the other hand, is ridiculously simple (although even tastier if you make it a day ahead). I love the silky texture, the sharpness of the vinegar, and the unexpected burst of flavor from the oregano. I’d never eaten anything before where oregano was so the predominant flavor, and it works addictively well in this salad. I just recently bought some Mexican oregano, which I’ve never cooked with before, and I’m super excited to see what that’s like in my next batch of curtido.
The recipe is already floating around the internet, so I’m going to repost it here for your future cabbage-preparation enjoyment.
Curtido (Salvadoran cabbage slaw)
This recipe is from the super delicious cookbook Viva Vegan by Terry Hope Romero.
Makes about 6 cups
1 to 1 1/2 pounds of green or red cabbage, shredded very finely (8 to 10 cups of shredded cabbage)
1 to 2 picked or raw jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
1 large carrot, shredded (sometimes I leave this out because shredding carrots is annoying!)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilanatro or parsley, or a combination of both
1 Tb coarse salt
2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup white vinegar, or more to taste
1. If you’re shredding the cabbage yourself, the best possible tool to use is a mandoline gratter. Second best is a large food processor fitted with a shredding blade, but it’s entirely possible to also thinly slice cabbage with a sharp heavy chef’s knife and a cutting board.
Slice the cabbage in half, remove and discard the core, slice the cabbage into chunks that can fit on your mandoline or into your food processor, and shred it all up. If you have any remaining odd shaped pieces, chop them into fine shreds with a knife.
2. Combine the shredded cabbage and remaining ingredients in a large bowl and toss well to coat everything with the salt and vinegar.
3. Place the slaw into a very large resealable plastic bag, at least 1 gallon or more. Press out all the air and tightly seal the bag.
4. From here you can either seal it into another bag, place on a shelf in the fridge, and place a heavy object on top. Or place the bag in a large bowl, place a few heavy cans or a big bag of rice on top of the slaw, and transfer to the refrigerator.
Chill for at least 1 hour or overnight; the longer the cabbage chills, the more tender and juicy it will become. (But it’s also delicious straight away – it just won’t have the amazing tender texture yet.)