Okay, I’ve decided to deviate slightly from my Mediterranean heartland by sharing some of the American stories and recipes that have inspired my personal repertoire simply because – suddenly and inexplicably – I have the time to explore all of my travel memories. A few months ago after a long drive across the Texan desert, we arrived in the beguiling and mystic town of Marfa (population: 1,722), a contemporary arts hub beloved of Donald Judd, Elmgreen & Dragset, Rackstraw Downes, as well as Beyonce, Natalie Portman – whom we had the pleasure of meeting – Sofia Coppola and Jake Gyllenhaal. Here the Warner Brothers’ epic, Giant was filmed whilst Jimmy Dean, Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson held court all summer long in the Spanish-style bar of The Hotel Paisano – “the most elegant hotel between El Paso and San Antonio.” Dusty and exhausted we pulled up at The 105 Lincoln (since renamed), the place we were to call home for a few days and, after sliding out of our overheated oversized pick-up truck and chucking our stuff into our cool vintage apartment, we walked over to The Get Go grocery store to pick up something for dinner. Here the shelves are adorned with glass preserving jars of all sizes, naive clay bowls, fresh organic produce in refrigerated cupboards, fresh baked bread, pantry items, wine, beer, harvest grow bags, charcoal, cool cotton totes and bug repellant. A pair of old fashioned scales hangs from the ceiling and a traditional Mexican piñata in the shape of llama seems to watch your every move. I picked up our groceries and plenty of cold beer and returned home to pull together this slaw to go alongside a simple mixed bean chilli. Afterwards, we sat out in the front yard, our minds slowly expanding as we inhaled the fragrant desert air and listened to the mile-long freight trains cry soulfully into the night. You can see highlights of our Marfa experience on Instagram story highlights.
125g very fresh leafy greens, I’ve used cavolo nero here, finely sliced
2 large carrots, peeled and grated
4 spring onions, finely sliced
A couple of handfuls of plump raisins, the best you can afford
A couple of handfuls of nuts, I used toasted almonds here
Pul biber, for garnishing (optional)
For the dressing:
4 tbsp of good quality crème fraïche (you can also use Greek yoghurt)
1 tbsp of grain mustard
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground mixed peppercorns
How I make it
First make the dressing by gently combining the ingredients, season to your taste and set aside.
In a large bowl combine all the vegetables chuck in the raisins and dress. Garnish with the nuts and Pul biber (if using).