June 10, 2004

a tale of two slaws

Several years ago, I found a great article in Cook's Illustrated about coleslaw. Their main point was to salt the cabbage and let it sit an hour in a colander first, to wilt it and drain the extra water out, thereby gaining two admirable coleslaw attributes: 1) slaw floppy enough to get into the mouth without incident, and 2) no runny dressing sitting in the bottom of the serving bowl. They had a normal mayo-style recipe, but I got hooked by the sweet-and-sour purple slaw, with carrots, granny smith apple, raisins, celery seeds, and a simple cider vinegar/oil dressing. You drain the cabbage with both salt and sugar, and don't even have to wash off the salt. People love it when I bring it to picnics and cookouts, I think both because it's sweet and because it's just so damn pretty and purple. *I* love it, but it doesn't go with every menu because of the sweetness. So I've been on the lookout for a savory slaw recipe of equal fabulousness, and I think I just found it.

The newest issue of my favorite food-porn mag, Saveur, has an article about Rick Bayless's family, who were barbecue restaurateurs in Oklahoma. Never mind about the dill pickles stuffed with mayo and shredded cheddar (yum), it's the Hickory House Sour Slaw that turned my head. It uses equal parts veg oil and white vinegar, plus raw garlic mashed to a paste with salt, a bit of sugar and black pepper, and the secret weapon: a good dash of dry sherry. The slaw is just green cabbage and chopped parsley, maybe a bit of carrot. You let it sit an hour, to let the dressing do its work. Dang. YUM.

You don't bother salting the slaw ahead, because the water that comes out dilutes the dressing just right if you leave the water out of the dressing recipe. I made it again last night from memory, and I forgot the sugar, and probably upped the sherry a bit, and it's delicious. I'd probably use less oil, but then I love vinegar. I put some celery seeds in just now, which was quite nice, but not necessary. It's so garlicky and salty and crunchy and pickly, I can hardly stop eating it.

Posted by foodnerd at June 10, 2004 08:46 PM

I made this slaw last night and it is to die for! I ate almost all of it by myself.

If you like vinegar and salads, this is my favorite summer salad:

Fresh Cucumber & Onion Salad

3/4 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
3 or 4 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced

1. Mix water, vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar. Place cucumbers and onions in a nonreactive bowl and pour liquid mixture over them to cover.

2. Chill at least 1 hour before serving.

Mixture can be doubled if necessary.

Posted by: J Bordelon at August 1, 2004 03:38 PM
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