I do not have a good history with coleslaw. I distinctly remember being in my preschool class and at lunch, being force fed the slimy bitter stuff after telling my teacher that I didn’t like coleslaw. My gut reaction has always been repulsion and since then I have always politely declined any offers of coleslaw.
But last week I came home with some beautiful winter vegetables that I had no idea how I would use. I had fennel and a turnip, and a beautiful head of red cabbage. I knew I didn’t want to make another warm and cheesy dish, but a simple salad didn’t have me interested either. I was watching the only cooking show I can find here from our Philippines Satellite, Jamie at Home, and he featured a winter vegetable coleslaw with some fennel. Once I got over my visceral reaction to all coleslaws, I decided to give it a try. Not all coleslaws are created equal, after all.
Half a head of red cabbage
2 medium carrots
1 small bulb of fennel
1 medium radish
1 six inch length of leek
1 tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
3 table spoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Peel the skins off of the carrots and turnip vegetables and grate them with a coarse cheese grater or food processor. Place all the shredded vegetables in a large bowl.
2. Thinly slice the fennel bulb, leek and red cabbage. Separate out the rings, so that you are left with julienned strips of vegetables, and add to the other vegetables.
3. Make your dressing: in a medium bowl, combine mustard, mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and honey.
4. Pour the dressing over the shredded vegetables and toss thoroughly. Taste and season with more sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, according to your taste. Let sit for 10-30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to blend.
On this dish, there would be no better critic than myself. I am the self professed hater of coleslaw. And you know what? It wasn’t slimy at all. It was crunchy and flavorful and colorful and the dressing was so light that it didn’t feel like I was just eating straight out of a bottle of mayonnaise. If I had to change something about it, I might have done a different dressing, but just for variety’s sake. I still don’t know that coleslaw is anything to write home about for me, but the nicest thing about this coleslaw was that in the middle of winter it was a healthier way to get in vegetables than the normal casserole comfort food.