New Mexico Chile Lime Slaw
When creating a catering menu that highlights locally grown ingredients there is a certain amount of ambiguity that is necessary, especially if the menu must be decided upon months in advance. No one can possibly know what will be available at an exact date so I cannot promise any particular vegetable in a dish. Even with protective measures like hoop houses there are countless factors affecting crops–things like temperature, rain, no rain, early spring, late freeze, hail, floods, bugs, slugs, deer, raccoons—the list of variables goes on and on.
One year I listed “Roasted Potatoes” on a menu (created in April) for an event in July, but of course it was a wet spring so the potatoes were planted late and the only vegetable that WAS abundant was zucchini—so instead we served a lovely dish of roasted zucchini with a few potatoes mixed in. All was good. These days if people want local produce I might list “Roasted Vegetable Salad” on the menu and leave myself plenty of leeway.
The term “slaw” gives great latitude. Cabbage is usually included, but there can be many other shredded veggies that make their way into a slaw: kohlrabi, fennel, radishes, carrots, zucchini, beets, onions, kale, fresh herbs and even various fruits like apples, pears or mangos.
The photo above is the massive quantity of Chile Lime Slaw made for the Seed Savers Exchange Conference. We served it with Gorditas made from Anson Mills Hominy Corn (I did the nixtamalization for the first time–more about that later); a Cubano Trio of Local Bacon, Ham and Smoked Pork; a Pinto Veggie Salad (note the ambiguous ‘veggie’…); and Baguettes with a Tamarind-Fig Butter. It was a big plate of Yum!
The ingredients are key to the flavor of this slaw. If you can possibly get real ground New Mexico chile, it’s worth the effort. There are different ‘heat’ levels so find the one that suits you best. This is not meant to be a picante slaw, but who am I to say you shouldn’t spice it up?
The fresh and sweet hard cabbage I used was grown by a fabulous local producer and this has a huge impact on the dish. If you cannot get lovely hard cabbage that is mild, use Savoy or Napa since they are generally sweeter than the hard cabbage that sits in a grocery store for weeks at a time.
Enjoy this with a Barbacoa Taco, Cubano, or Pulled Pork Sandwich, preferably outside while watching the sun set!
New Mexico Chile Lime Slaw
Prep Time: 30 minutes
To make the dressing whisk together:
1/3 cup Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Honey
2-3 Limes, juiced
1 teaspoon Champagne Vinegar
2 teaspoons New Mexico Chile, ground
Salt to taste
Mix the veggies in a bowl:
6 cups Cabbage, shredded (preferably a sweet hard cabbage, or else use Savoy or Napa)
1/2 cup Carrots, peeled and shredded
4-6 Radishes, shredded
1/2 Fennel Bulb, shredded (Optional)
3-4 Tablespoons Fresh Mint, finely chopped or chiffonade
Stir in the dressing. Let sit 15 minutes for flavors to meld.
Maybe it’s time you consider going to the Hatch Valley Chile Festival in Hatch, New Mexico.
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