It was my father's birthday the other day and to celebrate, I used my Instant Pot to make the Korean-flavored brisket from Dinner in an Instant and it was astonishingly delicious and done in less than an afternoon. What?! (Yes, I am still in that annoying phase of Instant Pot ownership where I cannot get over how fast it is. People, meltingly tender, practically spoonable brisket! In less than three hours! I mean!) (I actually used Tafelspitz, because my butcher didn't have any Rinderbrust that day, in case any of you are in Germany and want to make this too, and it was great.)
To round out the meal, I made white rice and this slaw from Dinner: A Love Story, which isn't Korean per se, but Jenny also serves it with something called "Korean Tacos" so I figured it would do as a low-energy vegetable side and you might not believe it if you had only tasted the ambrosial brisket, but this slaw basically stole the show. Now I know why Jenny's Andy said their Korean taco meal really "was all about the slaw." This slaw is perfect.
It's fresh and crisp and perfectly seasoned, with rice vinegar and fish sauce and lime, and just the kind of thing you don't want to stop crunching your way through. You'll have to restrain yourself from spooning up the juices left in the empty bowl. I added chopped salted peanuts, because I correctly guessed that Hugo might be slightly more inclined to eat it if there were peanuts to fish out, and I urge you to do the same. Using Napa cabbage means the slicing is a cinch and you don't need to massage anything or make it in advance. You just dump everything in a bowl and go to town. (I made this two nights in a row and added thinly sliced celery to the slaw the second night, which I also highly recommend!) The cilantro is non-negotiable. WHAAAAAT.
I feel like calling this Perfect Slaw might confuse you because it's not cole slaw. But calling it Asian Slaw feels a little lazy? Vietnamese Slaw? Napa Slaw? I don't know. These are the kinds of things I waste time thinking about. Just bookmark it, commit it to memory (I already have) and soon it won't matter at all what it's called. Or you'll just be calling it Perfect Slaw too.
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Jenny Rosenstrach's Perfect Slaw
Adapted from Dinner: A Love Story
Note: The size of Napa cabbage is a little subjective, so depending on your head of cabbage, you may need to increase the vinegar and oil to 1/3 cup each.
1/2 small head Napa cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup julienned carrots
1/2 cup julienned cucumber
1/2 bunch scallions (white and light green parts only), thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced (optional)
Handful cilantro or mint (chopped), or both
1/3 cup salted roasted peanuts, chopped
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
Squeeze of fresh lime juice
Pinch brown sugar
1/4 cup neutral oil
1. Place all slaw ingredients except for the peanuts in a salad bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients, then toss with the slaw.
3. Top with the peanuts.