Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Apple Cabbage Slaw

For a long time I thought I hated cole slaw. Actually, it turns out I just don't like mayonnaise. Does anyone eat that sweet, gloppy stuff that fills out every deli tray? I have my doubts. Since I'd rather chop cabbage than wash lettuce (or throw away an overpriced bag of the pre-washed stuff that's turned to slime), cabbage salads have all but replaced tossed ones at my table.

Slaw = Veggies + Vinegar + Salt + Oil.
Some days Japanese with soy sauce, some days Central American with lime, some days Middle Eastern with tahina, some days Thai with fish sauce, etc. I usually wing it, but writing down the proportions does save time tossing as you readjust the seasonings.

This one is a close cousin to Waldorf salad, minus the mayo. (How was Waldorf salad ever considered a diet food?)  It's best made half a day ahead, and this batch lasted for two days in the fridge.

3 cups shredded cabbage, I like a mix of red and green
2-3 stalks of celery, chopped
2-3 green onions
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
 1 apple, sliced thin

1/2 clove garlic, pressed/minced
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or more, to taste)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard

Let's assume that you are a reasonably competent resident of planet earth, able to tie your own shoes and unencumbered by a drool cup. I'm betting you don't need to be walked through assembling a slaw. How about I just give you a few pointers, hmmmmm?
  • If you are trying to save dishes by making the dressing first and assembling the salad on top in one bowl, work fast so that the cabbage on the bottom doesn't wilt in a concentrated puddle.
  • Slice the apple last, so that it doesn't have time to brown before you dress it.
  • In the best of all possible worlds, all the veggies would be chopped in pieces roughly the same size. In my world, hurry up because people gotta eat already.
  • Don't be too literal: if you have an extra stalk of celery, or you have shallots instead of green onions, or you have a pear that has to get used up today, knock yourself out.
  • Toss the salad with tongs, if you have them.
  • If you are making a larger quantity, toss the slaw in an oversize bowl, to ensure the dressing gets evenly distributed and then transfer to a smaller one for serving.
  • Re-toss the slaw before serving and taste to make sure that the salt hasn't leached out.
  • The flavor will be less pronounced the second day, but not everyone loves raw garlic.

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