Coleslaw in Full Color

Oh, we have been having some hot days here in the Northeast! Triple-digit heat index. Summer with a capital S.

Staying cool. Eating cool.cabbage 1 7.20.13

Cooking becomes more about slicing and assembly. No heating required.

I opened the fruit drawer in the fridge, and the deep orange of the nectarines caught my eye, and then, on the shelf right above, the purple of a head of cabbage, the remaining head of the two given to me by a gardening friend.

Like summer and its gardens bursting with vibrant colors, these two seemed perfect together, and I decided to combine them in a colorful coleslaw.

I like coleslaws. With a mayonnaise dressing or with vinaigrette. But not too much. I don’t like soupy coleslaws. And I like the pale color of the usual green cabbage with bits of purple, orange, and green from purple cabbage, carrots, and green peppers. It’s classic.

This one pulled those supporting colors and made them the stars.

Into a bowl I mixed: one-quarter of the purple cabbage, in bite-sized shreds, equaling about three cups; two nectarines, thinly sliced; thinly sliced white onion, about a half-cup; several basil leaves (maybe seven or eight), rolled up and then sliced into thin shreds; salt and pepper; one tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil; one and a half tablespoons rice vinegar.

So beautiful with the purples, oranges, the addition of the pale yellows from the now-sliced nectarine, greens and whites…a summer garden.

cabbage 3 7.20.13And the salad: crisp, light, fresh. Three different crunches, from the cabbage, the nectarines and the onion. The nectarines brought a tartness and fruitiness. The basil added a mintiness.

I made this salad earlier in the day, but didn’t eat it then. Had several things still to do, including working at our local farmers market, where I volunteer.

I came home with a generous section of whole wheat bread from one of the vendors, hard crust, soft on the inside, still warm. It was a section from the last loaf of bread left over at the end of the day, and they divided it and shared it with a couple of us there. A gift.

This was my dinner when I got home: a slice of that bread topped with my purple cabbage-nectarine coleslaw, and a few leftover black beans from the fridge on the side.

Sliced, assembled. Hot summer night dinner.

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