Slaw: Best of summer

Potato salad lovers may claim potato salad is “the No. 1 outdoor summer salad,” but is there any salad that seems to complement barbecues, picnics and any form of outdoor eating better than the good ole’ coleslaw?  And, I would venture to say there are as many ways to make it as there are to make potato salad. So move over potatoes, today it’s all about the slaw.

Easy to fix and easy to serve, coleslaw goes well with just about all grilled foods. It’s delicious as a topping for hamburgers, hot dogs, brats and is perfect along side a plate of grilled ribs, chicken, chops, fish or steaks. It complements everything.

Do you chop, slice or shred your cabbage? Shredded or chopped surfaces allow for more dressing absorption while slicing absorbs less dressing and keeps more of the cabbage’s crunchiness. You can save time by purchasing a bag ready to go chopped, shredded or sliced mix. There is something to be said for starting with a fresh head of cabbage.

Do you like slaw sweet, tart or in between? Slaw connoisseurs will go into a dissertation on which type goes with poultry, beef, pork, or fish. It also depends on the cut, if there’s a barbecue sauce, and other seasonings. Honestly, we just fix what we like. Have fun experimenting with dressings and other fruit and vegetable additions to the cabbage base.

Hints: Mix dressing separately to “taste and adjust.” Experiment with white and brown sugar or other sweetener. I use low fat mayonnaise. Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper add good flavor; but go easy on the salt as well as the essential ingredient, vinegar, that adds a nice “bite” to the flavor, too much bite is not a tasty thing. Vinegar reacts with aluminum, stick to stainless, glass or plastic for bowls and utensils. When it comes to adding dressing go easy on the amount. Hope you enjoy some of our favorites during the slather on the slaw season.

Dixie’s Cheery, Cherry Coleslaw

1 1/3 cup low fat or fat-free mayonnaise
Sweetener — sugar, Splenda, Stevia or honey — to taste
1 to 2 teaspoon lime juice (or to taste)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (have used rice vinegar)
1 teaspoon celery seed
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups shredded cabbage
4 cups broccoli slaw
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 cup pitted and halved sweet cherries
¼ cup carrot julienne carrots
1 to 2 finely minced jalapeño (optional)

Mix all ingredients except coleslaw, cherries, carrots and onions, Place fruit and vegetables in bowl and toss with dressing. Chill before serving.

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Thanks to Jim Shultz who shared the following recipes with me from a Barbecue and Beverage magazine he used to publish.

Bell Pepper Slaw

¼ each – red, green and yellow bell pepper
1 large cabbage
½ red cabbage
1½ cups mayonnaise
¼ cup grated mild onion
4 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper

Slice peppers very thin, then cut into 1-inch lengths. Combine peppers with rest of vegetables. Mix dressing ingredients and toss with vegetables. I would add chopped jalapeño.

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Coconut Slaw

1 medium cabbage
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 cup thinly slice celery
4 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon white wine
1 cup coconut
1½ cups mayonnaise

Combine cabbage, pineapple, celery, vinegar and coconut. Add mayonnaise; mix and chill.

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Jim’s Ripping Colorado Slaw

2 heads green cabbage, shredded or sliced
1/2 to 1 head red cabbage, shredded or sliced
2 carrots, julienned
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup raisins (or I say, dried cherries or cranberries)

Dressing ingredients

1 teaspoon sea salt
2 to 6 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
2 to 3 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon paprika to be sprinkled on top

Mix dressing ingredients according to taste, toss with cabbages, raisins, carrots and onion. Chill, sprinkle paprika on when serving.


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