Bring on the Coleslaw

I raise a lot of cabbage. Most of it goes for sauerkraut, which a friend makes and we split. (If you’re looking for some reading material about preserving food, check out Nick Sandler and Johnny Acton’s new book, "Preserved," (Kyle Books, $22.95), which make a good case for their belief that "the history of civilization is the story of our progressive mastery of food preservation.")

It wouldn’t be the truth, though, if I said that was my only use for cabbage. I like it fried, or stuffed with meat and rice or in boiled dinners, among other things.

But I must admit my first love is in coleslaw. In fact, I think when home for lunch today, my first task will be to grab a head of cabbage from the garden and make some coleslaw.

I like coleslaw just about any way it’s made. Therese makes it with an oil and vinegar dressing. I fix it that way sometimes, but usually mine contains some mayo or Miracle Whip. (It’s hard to stray from what your mom made when you were growing up.)

However, I have come across another slaw recipe that has caught my fancy. It’s for a kim chee slaw. I found it in the "Kingsford Complete Grilling Cookbook," by Rick Rodgers (Wiley, 2007). The author says it’s not as hot and spicy as the traditional Korean dish and suggests that it would be good for a cookout. The recipe follows, as do some others that look interesting.

Kim Chee Slaw
1 (4-inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon hot or sweet paprika
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons dark or toasted sesame oil
6 cups (about 1¼ pounds) cored, shredded cabbage
4 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
Salt to taste
Grate the ginger on the large holes of a box grater. Squeeze the grated ginger in your fist over a mixing bowl to yield about 2 tablespoons juice. Add the vinegar, sugar, paprika and red pepper. Whisk in the vegetable and sesame oils.
Mix in the cabbage, green onion and sesame seeds. Season to taste with salt.
Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6.

Mustard Slaw
1 small green cabbage, about 2 pounds
1 large carrot, peeled
4 tablespoons yellow mustard
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon whole celery seeds
Remove tough or damaged outer leaves from cabbage. Quarter cabbage and cut away the inner stalk. Remove thick, tough inner leaves if desired.
Chop cabbage finely to make about 8 cups, using a knife, slicing blade on food processor or large grater. Place in a large mixing bowl. Grate carrot into the cabbage.
Whisk together remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over the cabbage and stir to coat thoroughly.
Let stand 15 minutes and stir again. Taste and add more sugar and salt if needed. Let stand 15 minutes longer and serve, or refrigerate, covered, for 2 or 3 days.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8.

Red Slaw
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup sugar
½ cup ketchup
½ teaspoon kosher salt or slightly less table salt
5 to 6 cups finely chopped cabbage (see note)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon hot sauce
Whisk the vinegar, sugar, ketchup, salt, pepper and hot sauce in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves.
Place the cabbage in a large bowl. Add the dressing and stir until well-combined. Taste and adjust seasonings. Refrigerate about 1 hour before serving.
Note: Restaurants and large community barbecues usually use a food chopper or mill to chop the cabbage. To replicate it at home, here is a two-step process using a food processor. First, remove the rough outer leaves of a head of green cabbage. Quarter the cabbage, cut away the inner core and pull out some of the thick leaves if desired.
Set up a food processor with a slicing blade. Feed the cabbage quarters through the feed tube to create long shreds. Place in a work bowl.
Change the food processor to the standard metal blade. Working in two batches if necessary, place the shredded cabbage back in the processor and pulse several times until finely chopped. Don’t overprocess or you’ll get mush.
Yield: Serves 8.

Healthy Slaw
1 small green cabbage
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and cut in thin strips
1 medium carrot, peeled
½ medium sweet onion, cut in thin crescents
¼ cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Remove any damaged or tough outer leaves from cabbage. Cut in quarters and remove tough inner core and the thickest inner leaves. Shred thinly with a knife. Place shredded cabbage in a large bowl. Add green pepper strips.
Shred carrot on the large holes of a box grater. Add to cabbage.
Combine vinegar, honey, ginger, turmeric and celery seed in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the honey. Remove from heat and whisk in the oil.
Pour hot dressing over the cabbage and toss until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cover and refrigerate 4 to 24 hours before serving.
Yield: Serves 12.

2 thoughts on “Bring on the Coleslaw

  1. That Kim Chee slaw looks pretty interesting, is it similar in flavor profile to the original Korean Kimchi, which is a fermented cabbage dish?


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