Wish Upon A Dish: Creamy Coleslaw 101

June 30, 2013

Creamy Coleslaw 101

With the holiday weekend approaching, I imagine we all have everything in control, the menu is written, assignments are handed out and shopping list is just about done. Last minute meat run should wait for a final RSVP tally, yes?

While the hamburgers and hot dogs are best left ordered till the last minute in this hot weather, there are a few sides that can be made ahead of time and actually benefit from advanced preparation. The most well known picnic and BBQ side is coleslaw. Yes, pasta and potato is up there but in this family, coleslaw rules.

I have two favorites, a creamy basic mayo/vinegar dressing that my mom always made and the other, an Asian-style dressing.

I like to serve the Asian one with fish tacos and the mayo one with all things dry rubbed BBQ. American coleslaw works on our BBQ spice, like a raita with Indian foods or sour cream with Mexican.

Making coleslaw is all about technique. If you do not prepare the cabbage correctly you end up with a watered down, bitter dressing when you really need it to be full flavored. Cabbage and onions are all water, so like the cucumber in raita, you need to salt, press, wash and dry before adding the dressing. I would highly recommend storing the prepared cabbage mixture in the fridge, undressed, with the dressing in a separate bag. Toss the two together the day of serving.

For enough coleslaw to serve 6-8 people, you need 1 large head green cabbage, 1 large carrot, 1/2 sweet onion and 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds. The dressing is simply mayonnaise, rice wine vinegar, a pinch of sugar and black pepper. Remember even though the cabbage is washed, it will still have absorbed salt, so taste before adding.

This slaw comes together in no time if you pop the shredding blade into the processor. If you do not have that blade, just pulse until you get the size you want, or take out your grater and do it the manual way. It's all good.

Creamy Coleslaw
Prep time: 15 minutes
Unattended time: 1-4 hours or overnight
Cook time: 0

* 1 pound cabbage (about 1 medium head), shredded fine or chopped
* 1 large carrot, grated
* 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, or t teaspoon table salt
* 1/2 medium sweet onion, minced
* 1/2 cup mayonnaise
* 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* Black pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
* 2 tablespoons favorite BBQ sauce

Set the shredding disk in your processor and starting with the cabbage, then the carrot and then the onion.
Sprinkle the salt over the vegetables, toss to distribute, place in a colander over a bowl, place a smaller bowl on top with a large can of tomatoes. Let it sit for 1-4 hours. Throw out the liquid in the bottom bowl, wash off the vegetables and dry with paper towels, do not squeeze.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before making the dressing (mayo to BBQ sauce).

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