Coleslaw is a hot-weather treat Entertaining: Make-ahead combinations of sliced vegetables and tangy dressings will delight family and friends.

June 28, 1998|By Betty Rosbottom | Betty Rosbottom,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

I've always included coleslaws as part of my summer repertoire because they can be made ahead and are such nTC perfect complement to barbecue and grill entrees. Over the years I have created quite a few variations on this classic salad. I've made it with mayonnaise as well as with vinaigrette dressing. I have included julienned fennel along with sliced cabbage in some versions, and I have crushed caraway seeds and added them as a seasoning to other renditions.

A few weeks ago I made a new coleslaw with cabbage and thin strips of red and yellow peppers, all tossed in a lime and honey dressing scented with cumin and cilantro. The slaw made a fine accompaniment to barbecue chicken one night and was delicious with grilled salmon on another occasion.

The cabbage as well as the sweet peppers can be sliced in advance and the dressing, a combination of lime juice and zest, honey, cumin, cilantro and olive oil, can also be prepared ahead. About half an hour before serving, the ingredients can be tossed together and arranged in a serving dish. This recipe could be doubled or tripled for large gatherings.

Coleslaw With Red and Yellow Peppers in Lime-Honey Dressing

Makes 6 servings

DRESSING:

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest (color portion from 1 or 2 limes)

3 1/2 tablespoons lime juice, plus more if needed

1 tablespoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more if needed

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons honey

6 tablespoons olive oil

SLAW:

1 small cabbage, with attractive outer leaves

1 small sweet red pepper

1 small sweet yellow pepper

To prepare dressing, combine lime zest, lime juice, cumin, salt, cilantro and honey in large nonreactive bowl and whisk well to blend. Whisk in olive oil. (Dressing can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature and whisk well before using.)

To prepare slaw, pull off and reserve 5 to 6 attractive outer leaves for garnish and rinse and pat dry. Halve cabbage lengthwise and cut out and discard core. Thinly slice cabbage to make 7 cups. Reserve extra cabbage for another use.

Remove stems from peppers and discard, then halve lengthwise. Cut out and discard seeds and membranes and cut peppers into strips 1/4 inch wide and 2 inches long. Combine peppers and sliced cabbage in mixing bowl. (Vegetables can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using. Cover cabbage leaves with slightly dampened paper towels and leave at cool room temperature.)

To assemble, toss cabbage and peppers in bowl with dressing. Taste and, if desired, add extra lime juice and salt. Let stand at cool room temperature 15 to 20 minutes for flavors to meld. Line shallow serving bowl with cabbage leaves and use slotted spoon to mound slaw on top.

Pub Date: 6/28/98

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