In a time obsessed with freshness, don't forget coleslaw, which must ripen

March 30, 1994|By Irene Sax | Irene Sax,Newsday

Most salads, once dressed, die quickly. Put a leftover salad in the fridge after dinner and the next morning you'll find it transformed into a green, soggy mess.

But coleslaw doesn't die once it's dressed. It positively thrives on neglect.

In fact, time-in-the-cold is one of its major ingredients.

Like homemade ice cream, which is good when it's fresh and heavenly a day later, newly made coleslaw is nothing but shredded cabbage until it has had time to ripen and mature.

Cookbooks say you can hurry this process by using tender, crinkly Savoy cabbage instead of the tougher green or red varieties. True, the slaw made with Savoy cabbage will be tender, but if you don't let it sit and develop, it will never be more than just a raw vegetable.

That means that you can have homemade coleslaw for dinner, but you'll have to make it early that day or the night before. Don't worry, it will keep. It will, in fact, keep getting better.

The first is a family recipe; use low-fat mayonnaise and sour cream if you must, but don't try it with non-fat products.

Both of the other recipes are from "Mrs. Witty's Home-Style Menu CookBook" by Helen Witty (Workman).

Good ole coleslaw

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

2 pounds cabbage, preferably red and white

1 large carrot, grated

1 small onion, minced

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Large pinch sugar

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons caraway seeds

Shred the cabbage using a sharp knife or the slicing blade of a food processor or grater.

Put into a bowl with the carrot and onion.

a smaller bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper to taste.

Add to the vegetables and mix well. Let sit in the refrigerator at least 1 hour; just before serving, add caraway seeds.

Corn and cabbage slaw Makes 6 servings.

2 cups shredded cabbage

1 1/2 cups corn

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons dried mustard

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon chopped chives

1/4 cup minced Italian parsley

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage and corn. (Frozen or drained canned corn are good choices.)

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, salt, mustard and sugar.

Correct the seasoning. Add to the shredded cabbage, mix well and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Add the chives and parsley just before serving.

Peppery blue cheese slaw

Makes 6 servings.

2 pounds cabbage, shredded

1/2 cup chopped bottled hot red peppers or 2 slivered jalapeno peppers

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup lime or lemon juice

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Large pinch sugar

Pepper

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

In a large bowl, combine the shredded cabbage and peppers.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lime juice, vinegar, salt and sugar.

Add pepper to taste. Pour over cabbage, mix well and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

A5 Before serving, add the blue cheese and mix well.

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