What' s this? Two green salad recipes in a row? Well ... yeah. I like green salads. This one doesn't feature lettuce, though. It's built on a base of tender Chinese cabbage.
There are several varieties of Chinese cabbage, but this salad is based on wom bak, more commonly known as napa cabbage. Chinese cabbage is wonderfully tender and is the main ingredient in kimchi. It's also a good source of carotene, vitamin A and vitamin C. In spite of being good for you, Chinese cabbage is really tasty, and I think you'll enjoy this salad. I love it's simplicity and bright flavors.
I also happen to think it looks pretty.
Large strainer (sieve)
6 Chinese cabbage (napa) leaves*
1/2 cup corn kernels
3 Roma tomatoes**
3 or 4 chives
6 lemon wedges
for the dressing
6 tablespoons black-rice vinegar***
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
salt, as required
Fill the mixing bowl with plenty of water and a few ice cubes. Cut the Chinese cabbage leave crosswise into thin slices. Don't use the outermost leaves. They're too firm for a salad and are best saved for soups. Soak the sliced cabbage in the bowl of ice water for a minute or two to crisp it up. Don't soak it too long, or you will spoil the flavor. Drain the water off, using a strainer.
Remove the stems from the tomatoes, and cut them into wedges, lengthwise.** Cut the chives into 2 inch lengths.
If using fresh corn from your garden, remove it from the cob and blanch it. Frozen corn should be thawed and blanched, as well. Canned corn can be used (gotta cycle that food storage, somehow), but you'll want to rinse and drain it thoroughly.
Now that everything else is prepared for assembly, let's make the dressing. Put the vinegar, sugar, and a pinch of salt into a small bowl. Add the sesame oil and whisk the ingredients together, thoroughly. Taste and add more salt, if needed.
Arrange the Chinese cabbage, tomatoes, corn, and chives (in that order) on individual plates. Garnish with a lemon wedge. Drizzle on the dressing, about 1 tablespoon or so per salad, and serve.
*You can substitute lettuce or regular cabbage for the Chinese cabbage, if you want to, but I don't recommend it. There's just something wonderful about this tender, sweet, leafy vegetable.
**Cherry tomatoes are often used, cut in half, for this recipe. Roma tomatoes are less expensive and have a more meaty texture, so I normally use them, instead.
***Black-rice vinegar can be hard to find outside of a few specialty shops. If you can't find Black-rice vinegar where you live, use balsamic vinegar, just leave out the sugar. Balsamic vinegar is sweet enough on it's own without it.