There are many fine uses for mayonnaise, but coleslaw dressing ain’t one of ’em. Actually, it’s possible that somebody somewhere makes a decent mayo-based slaw, but that mound of gloppy white mush masquerading as coleslaw in deli departments and dive bars across the land? Kill me now.
What you want is a light, tangy dressing that clings ever-so-slightly to the slaw, a dressing whose flavor gradually seeps into every pore of the cabbage without diminishing its crispy, crunchy goodness. What you want is vinegar.
At least that’s what I want. And I want it fairly frequently, which is why I almost always have a jar of slaw dressing and a head of cabbage in the fridge. In addition to being the perfect companion to all manner of backyard fare — burgers, ribs, beer can chicken, pulled pork, fried fish. . .you get the idea, this slaw is ridiculously easy to make.
You dump some cider vinegar and vegetable oil into a pot; whisk in a bit of celery seed, ground mustard, and quite a lot of sugar; then bring the whole thing to a boil. While it cools, you finely slice some cabbage using a mandoline or — if you have recently sliced off a small bit of your thumb and your boyfriend has forbidden you to so much as look at the mandoline — a serrated knife. If you’re so inclined, you can also add some red onion. And seriously, that’s it. You pour the dressing over the cabbage, let it chill for an hour or so, and then dig in.
1 c. apple cider vinegar
2/3 c. vegetable oil (I use sunflower or safflower oil)
1 c. sugar
1 T. ground mustard
1 t. celery seed
1 t. salt
1 head of cabbage
1/2 c. red onion
1) Whisk together the first six ingredients in a medium saucepan. To dissolve sugar, bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2) Peel any dirty or wilted leaves away from the cabbage, cut into quarters, and remove the core. Slice thinly — the cabbage will naturally fall apart into strips as you slice it.
3) Mince, dice, or slice the red onion and combine with the cabbage in a large bowl.
4) Pour the dressing over the cabbage and stir to coat. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
*One of the many things I like about this recipe is that you can make a batch of dressing and store it in the fridge for future use, chopping up cabbage and onions as needed for slaw. I tend to make only one or two servings of actual slaw at a time.
Okay, I’m all in on this one. I love the look of this slaw.
August 15, 2008 at 8:58 pm
Megan darling, as perhaps you’ve overheard in Petoskey of late, I’ve told people at the bookstore that I’m going to talk you into getting on board with me to secure a business loan (or hit up your rich uncle–do you have one?), and buy Andante. Something about a good weekend brunch place, daily menu changes, and local seasonal foods . . . As it turns out, I may be NYC-bound in the near future, but oh-so-distractedly think you should consider the restaurant biz (I have a feeling your fellow blog-readers would agree). Let’s chat food sometime soon. And ditto on the disparaging mayo remarks!
August 16, 2008 at 10:44 am
Funny, where I come from, we call that “Yankee Slaw”. Looks yummy.
August 16, 2008 at 10:35 pm
Dr. Monkey – Go for it!
Katie – I’m sure any number of banks would be happy to approve me for a business loan, what with my zero professional training and years of non-experience. But I’ve always liked the idea of myself as a cafe proprietor. I think a leisurely lunch at American Spoon is in order.
Lulu – That’s because you’re a bunch of weirdos.
August 17, 2008 at 12:51 pm
I love coleslaw, and I had no idea it was so easy to make. Which is silly, since it’s just chopped up stuff, but I never considered making it myself. I’ll try it this week.
August 19, 2008 at 10:37 am
Girl, are those the Martha Stewart spice tins? You are seriously a bitch from hell.
August 19, 2008 at 11:44 am
Clare – I’m feeling a bit guilty about the sugar content. Next time I’ll play around with it and see if significantly less sugar would work.
Vikki – They’re actually a cheap DIY version of Martha’s tins. The tins themselves were purchased here, then I applied hand-written labels to the lids and stuck them to the wall using magnetic strips from Ikea.
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