Thursday, August 20, 2009

Amazing Red Cabbage Salad

The other day, I went out to lunch with a friend at a French cafe. They have an assortment of salads (red cabbage, celery, carrot, potato...) in a big display case. The serve the salads on a bed of greens with a few croutons on the side. I ordered the red cabbage salad, and it was honestly the best salad I have ever eaten. The cabbage was lightly dressed, and I could detect just a hint of sweetness. There was a perfect blend of oil and acidity. The salad was served with dressing on the side, but I truly didn't need it as I mixed my cabbage with the greens.

I would love to recreate this salad at home. I think the key may be to let the red cabbage marinate long enough. Plus, I somehow need to recreate the hint of sweetness. I was tempted to ask the person working behind the counter for the recipe (or at least approximate ingredients), but I was too shy. But I'm thinking of going back and asking...

Questions: Do you ever ask for a recipe/detailed ingredients when you like a dish at a restaurant? If you have asked before, what was your experience like? Did the restaurant share their recipe? Did they look at you funny? Do you think I should go back and ask for the recipe?

Be well,


  1. to all the questions and a HUGE YES ...go back and ask! What could it hurt?

    I am a taste and figure it out kinda gal! Sometimes it works and sometimes...not so much

    I love playing the guessing game !

    beautiful pic!

  2. I definitely think you should go ask--tell them how much you enjoyed it!
    I've never done it but now that you mention it, there are a few dishes I'd like to get the recipe for!

  3. It never hurts to ask. I do and I've gotten positive and negative responses but they are usually happy that you like the dish well enough to ask. I've also been able to come up with recipes from the Web by using the name they use for the dish or by entering as many of the ingredients I can come up with in a Google search and see what comes up.
    My mother used to marinate a refrigerator slaw in vinegar that had a little sugar and salt added to it and brought to a boil before pouring over the cabbage. Heating the vinegar dissolves the sugar and also softens the cabbage just enough that it soaks up the marinade. You might try that.

  4. The red cabbage salad sounds yummy! I would love to see how you make it :)

    I was often tempted to ask for a recipe, but never musted up the courage to do so. It never hurts to try!

  5. Thanks for all your encouragement to ask for the recipe! I'll let you know how it goes.... :)

    Kathy, I'll have to try your mother's method; I think it may be very close to what they did! Thanks for sharing!

  6. That looks so beautiful!

    Sure - ask - it never hurts!! Can't wait to see what they say!

  7. love, love, love cabbage salads. i agree with everyone never hurts to ask.

  8. haha, great question, I actually HAVE done that before, and no, they didn't tell me! I can't remember exactly what it was, but I'm remembering something about a soup. It was really great and I couldn't pinpoint what it was that made it taste so good. The waiter said the chef couldn't give it away, however, there have also been times when I asked and they did tell me. In fact one time I remember them writing the recipe down for me. If I were you, I'd ask! The cabbage looks great.

  9. Your salad is so colorful! Yes, I've asked for recipes, or what a certain ingredient is, and have even had the chef come to my table!

    I once at at Rick Bayless' restaurant and when I told the server I couldn't find habanero peppers by my house, he gave me a whole bag to take home! :D

  10. I've never asked a restaurant for a recipe, but I have run home and googled recipes based on something I ate in an effort to recreate it! More specifically - Indian food and Chana Masala! :)

  11. i've never asked for a recipe, but why not!?!?

  12. I've never asked. But if you're feeling too shy you may try googling it. :) Good luck.

  13. Yes, go back and get that recipe! I never know what to do with red cabbage.

  14. This is the mixture that Mom used over a head of shredded cabbage. This was back when they used a lot of oil in salads. I think you could eliminate it completely if you were going to use a dressing as you served it or at least cut way back on the amount.
    2 Tbsp sugar
    1 tsp celery seed
    1 cup cider vinegar
    1 tsp dry mustard
    1 Tbsp salt
    3/4 cup salad oil

  15. Like my mom said- it never hurts to ask! Although I'm the biggest chicken- I've never done it!

  16. I looooove red cabbage! I would definitely go back and ask!

  17. All: Thanks for all of your encouragement to go back and ask! I think I will. I'll let you know how it goes...

    Biz: 1) I love that you ate at Rick Bayless' restaurant! 2) How great that the server gave you a bag of habanero peppers!

    Kathy: Thanks for the recipe! I'll definitely make it!

  18. I never thought about asking a restaurant for their recipe since I always thought that the information is trade secret. Good to know that it is okay to ask.

  19. Yes, go back and ask! :)

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