OK, peoples!! The word ‘slaw’ is derived from the Dutch word for salad, so a slaw is a slaw is a slaw. Cole slaw (or, as some folks in the South refer to it, merely ‘slaw’) is shredded cabbage salad. The addition of carrots and oddments such as raisins (was this to get children to eat it?) is, as my father used to say, ‘commentary’, but it all comes down to shredded cabbage.
Now, here in the US, we seem to have two schools of thought on cole slaw (at least from the dressing side): mayonnaise-based dressings or vinegar-based dressings. I did a little bit of research and from what I can find, the original dressings used in Holland for cole slaw were cooked dressings containing eggs, sugar, flour, vinegar, salt, pepper and butter. Except for the flour, ‘mayo’ is not that far off the mark. However, some of us want something a little bit less creamy, which is where the vinegar-based salad dressings started to come into play.
Now, except for raisins (which I have rather strong opinions on in terms of cole slaw), your Aunt Toby is a ‘anything goes’ sort of slaw person. I’ve used everything from the cabbage family up to and including Chinese cabbage, kohlrabi, red and green cabbage, and broccoli, plus carrots. The bowl at the top of the page contains green cabbage, the stems from a couple of heads of broccoli, a quarter of a red onion, and three carrots. The total amount almost filled the bowl of my KitchenAid mixer. A whole lot of slaw.
For the dressing, I went light tonight – we were eating hamburgers and the thought of heaping mayo-based dressing on that did nothing for my appetite. Here’s the dressing I used and and because this is lemon juice based rather than vinegar-based it is bright and flavorful.
Lemon-ginger Slaw Dressing
The juice from one large lemon
2 T of sugar
1 handful of chopped fresh parsley (if you haven’t got it, it’s not a great loss, believe me)
1 T of LIGHT olive oil (the sort used for saute-ing or baking – don’t use virgin or extra-virgin in this)
Grate up some fresh ginger (about an inch or an inch and a half of one of the fingers) and use a loosely packed tablespoon
Mix all of that up in a bowl and taste. If this tastes too sweet, you can add more lemon juice or up to a 1/4 cup of cider vinegar to balance it off – this should taste just a little bit tart/sweet, with a ginger overtone to it. Bright, fruity taste.