If you picture mushy cabbage in a bland, unnatural green dressing when you hear the word slaw, it’s time to expand your horizons.
A slaw should be crunchy, fresh and flavourful. Cabbage is a popular ingredient. But any crunchy vegetable with work — broccoli, carrots, celery, peppers, radicchio, fennel, even raw beets. Thinly slice, grate by hand or shred with a food processor.
For additional crunch, add nuts (toasted almonds, walnuts) or seeds (sunflower, poppy) or sliced apples. For sweetness, add dried fruit (currants, raisins, dried cranberries).
If you want a creamy dressing, mix mayonnaise with buttermilk and apple cider vinegar to boost the flavour. But a vinaigrette works well, too. Simply whisk together oil (olive, grape seed, walnut) and acid (lemon juice, wine, rice or cider vinegar), add a little sugar, salt and pepper, plus whatever herbs or spices you have on hand that will complement the other flavours (chives, horseradish, hot pepper flakes, parsley, caraway, dill, basil, tarragon).
Don’t feel limited by recipes. Use vegetables in season and the flavours your family likes.
Slaws stand up well to time and transport, which makes them perfect for potlucks, picnics and weekday lunches.
This simple slaw combines fennel and tarragon — a slightly unusual pairing that really works. I served it alongside barbecued pork side ribs and homemade corn bread.
Fennel Apple Slaw
Adapted from Bon Appetit
45 mL (3 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
45 mL (3 tbsp) apple cider vinegar
10 mL (2 tsp) fresh lemon juice
25 mL (1-1/2 tbsp) fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 mL (1/4 tsp) sugar
salt and pepper
1 large bulb fennel, thinly sliced
1 Paula red apple, cored and thinly sliced
3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
Whisk together first five ingredients in small bowl.
Combine last fennel, celery and apple in large bowl. Toss with dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.