It’s not easy trying to cook like home in China. Things we take for granted every day can suddenly only be sourced through an internet search and a three hour long quest into the city. Lettuce is no exception. Don’t get me wrong, we can get lettuce in Qinpu. The varieties available are: Lettuce. That’s it. Chinese lettuce (yes, that’s really a thing). Salads get boring. They all look the same. They all taste the same. But what we can get is a wide variety of other leafy Chinese vegetables which we have started using raw as a lettuce substitute to curb the boredom. Hangzhou bok choi is one such vegetable. It is similar in texture and flavour to a Savoy cabbage, but has the added bonus of providing a fresh crunch to salads, thanks to its large midrib. So what do you make when you essentially have a cabbage, a few potatoes and a teeny tiny fridge (really, you should see it, shove a 5L water bottle in there and you’re pretty much at capacity) that needs a small half jar of mayo cleared out on a first in first out basis? Well, naturally, you make a Potato Caesar Coleslaw salad, of course.
This is a salad with an identity crisis. Like that country gal who runs away from home and moves to the big city to become an actress, only to pack it all in and go back to harvest the apple trees with pappa, it wants to be a fancy Caesar salad, but knows it is ultimately a good ‘ol potato salad at heart. You can substitute the bok choi for white cabbage, or pretty much any raw, leafy veg.
Yes, I know, this is a terrible photo. The rainbow assault from the colours in the table cloth completely overwhelms the food, which is supposed to be the star. The lines on the cloth are so skew that you’re probably clawing at your screen trying to straighten them. The proportions are wrong. It looks like a unicorn exploded all over the place. You can hardly tell what you’re eating. It’s just bad. But I need cheering up today and something about this photo is immensely cheering to me. And so is this salad (as are all salads that fatten you up faster than a jelly doughnut). The combination of the creamy Gorgonzola, the warm, salty bacon on the cool, crisp lettuce and the sweet, sharp dressing is so simple, but really, really delicious. It hits all the spots. Or at least, it hits all my spots. I was really happy with how the dressing came out – proof once again that pretty much everything on this planet tastes better with a dollop of mayo.
Bacon & Blue Cheese Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing