Do you remember when every sandwich you got in a restaurant came with cole slaw? Casual burger joints served a paper souffle cup of creamy slaw. Fancier places put that dollop of tangy goodness in a little metal cup. Then there were the places that gave you an ice cream scoop of slaw. It was actually enough to call a serving of vegetables. There are still places that serve a side of slaw, but often it’s as a substitute for fries. It seems that a complimentary cup of cole slaw has all but gone the way of car hops and table side juke boxes. I, for one, would love to see this tradition return. The cole slaw, not necessarily the car hops, but a little music that I could choose while I eat instead of management’s idea of dinner music would be great. In the meantime I’ll create slaws in my kitchen and this is the perfect time to start.
As summer officially gets rolling, Cole Slaw will be making appearances at parties and cook outs. The days of cole slaw only being cabbage and carrots swimming in a creamy dressing are all but gone. Now slaws come in lots of variations but, they usually hold to the original meaning of being a cabbage salad (from the Dutch “koolsla”). The main ingredient can be cabbage or any of its cruciferous cousins. In a broader definition I’ve heard that any shredded vegetable salad can be a slaw. With all the veggies, fruits and dressings out there,the only limitation is a cook’s imagination.
I like making slaws. It’s one of the only salads that you can make ahead that actually gets better. While lettuce gets soggy the longer it sits, cabbage salads get sweeter and mellower with a little time. I’ve shared a few recipes and before I give you my latest take on the cabbage salad, I thought I’d stroll down memory lane and give some links to previous adventures. Just click on the red links to see where I’ve been.
Cabbage slaws can complement most any cuisine and can even become a main dish with the addition of a protein. My Asian Chicken Salad comes to mind. Red cabbage, broccoli and carrots join grilled chicken in a spicy oriental inspired dressing. Crispy rice noodles and sliced almonds gilt this Asian lily.Cole Slaw can even become a seasonal dish with the addition of fruits and flavors of a particular season. Apple Cabbage Slaw with Honey Mustard Dressing and Walnuts tasted like fall when it was paired with roasted pork tenderloin and sweet potatoes.I’ve even borrowed an idea from another blogger for “Kaleslaw”. After I read the Proud Italian Cook’s post about this salad whose time had come, I had to make one of my own. This was a direct to Facebook post of a “non-recipe” recipe. I didn’t go to the kale-o-naise route, but my garlicy dressing hit all the right notes.
The other thing that I like about Cabbage salads is that a few ingredients can come together to create a salad that is as tasty as it is colorful. Add the fact that it can be made ahead and this is a cook’s dream come true. That is definitely the case with this Orange Honey Mustard Slaw. Broccoli slaw blend, red bell peppers and green onions provided the vegetable action and created a symphony of color, too.
The dressing was only four ingredients, but they came together to create a delicious tangy sweet coating that had that extra zing of citrus.
If you want to really put that orange flavor up front, add a little grated orange zest. In fact, that’s where I’ll head next time. So with minimal chopping and mixing and a brief respite in the fridge, I had a side dish that was wonderful with grilled pork chop sandwiches. However, this salad would be great next to any sandwich, metal cup or ice cream scoop optional.
So, shred that veg, blend that dressing and come up with your own “Koolsla”