If you’re finding it too hot for baked beans, try cole slaw. An American
original standard, it’s a fitting side for July BBQs. I can’t resist experimenting with cole slaws. I made an all-Oregon, hazelnut/blue cheese version a few years ago, for example. And let’s not forget my Polish sauerkraut-apple-carrot slaw of yesteryear.
This one is studded with crunchy seeds, a nice contrast to the creamy dressing and cabbagey cabbage.
I salt my cabbage prior to making the slaw. I find it makes for less watery run-off when the salad is complete.
The easiest dressing in the world is some homemade crème fraîche, mixed into the pre-salted cabbage. But if you don’t have any of that around, consider a buttermilk alternative.
Serves 6 as a side dish.
- 1/2 med. head of green cabbage (weight will vary widely given the time of year and freshness of cabbage, but aim for around 6 cups, shredded finely)
- 1/2 cup sweet white onion (e.g., Walla Wallas), sliced very thinly
- handful of sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds, presoaked in hot water
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
Rinse finely sliced onion in plenty of cold water, set aside.
Presoak the mustard seeds in hot water.
Toast all the seeds except the mustard seeds in a dry pan on medium heat (shake the pan frequently for 2-3 minutes, until the seeds smell fragrant and look roasty). Add non-mustard seeds to onion.
Shred cabbage as finely as possible. A mandoline, if you have one, is best, but I’ve used a sharp knife and wits plenty of times. Place in a colander.
Salt the cabbage with the kosher salt, and toss in the colander. Let sit for an hour or so.
Give the cabbage a good rinse, and dry it as completely as possible with a tea towel or paper towels.
Place the dry cabbage in a large bowl with the mustard seeds and the onion/seed mixture. Add either 2/3 cup of crème fraîche and a bit of cider vinegar or the following buttermilk dressing:
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
Whisk together all parts of the dressing, then toss it with the cabbage. Chill completely (both you and the slaw). Slaw improves if it is kept overnight in the refrigerator.