Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Recipe: Choose Your Own Adventure Slaw

Kinda spawned by today's earlier post on 101 Simple Salads...

A friend was lamenting that she had a BBQ to go to and got cabbage in her CSA bag (lucky girl!). Being a good southern girl, I proclaimed that I came from a long line of slaw and cooked cabbage eating peoples. If there's one thing you learn from birth in my family, it's how to make a slaw!

Growing up "slaw" always meant a mayo-based dressing coating a cabbage & carrot salad. But with increase food safety awareness and the slowing of everyone's metabolism as they aged, the matriarchs of my family slowly moved onto the vinaigrette-based slaw. Plus I think mayo because not so culinary cool (as if my family ever really followed food trends) circa 1992. We've done so many variations on the no-mayo slaw that I have just decided to generalize the recipe and call it Choose Your Own Adventure (did you ever read those books growing up? Awesome concept.) Here it is:

The Salad:

6 cups of shredded cabbage (of your choice: regular, napa, savoy, red, etc)
1-2 cup sliced/shredded/julienned accent veg (green/red/yellow peppers, carrots, jicama, green apples, tomatoes, etc)
accent flavor*

The Dressing:

2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp acid (lime juice, red wine vinegar, cider vinegar, lemon juice, etc)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c oil (olive, peanut, canola)
Salt & pepper


Mix dressing ingredients. Mix salad ingredients. Pour dressing on top of salad & toss to combine.

*Accent flavors. Pick 1-3 of the following:
- 1tbsp hot peppers, minced
-1/4 c parsley
-1/4 c cilantro
- 1 c feta cheese (or more! yum!)
- 1/4 scallion
- 1 c dried fruit (raisins, currents. apricots are nice with red cabbage)
- 1/4 c mint, basil, or...heck...any leafy herb really (I don't think something woody like rosemary would really work, but you can always give it a shot!)

Some ideas:

A "Greek" slaw would use maybe a mix of tomatoes & peppers for accent veg, feta/scallion/parsley for accent flavor, and red wine vinegar as the acid.

For "Mexican" slaw, maybe carrots & jicama for accent veg, hot peppers/cilantro for accent flavor & lime for acid

For "Sweet/Savory" slaw, maybe green apples shredded for accent veg, red cabbage, dried fruit for accent flavor and lemon or cider vinegar for acid.