American food has become the now-food – burgers are popping up on every other menu, pulled pork, slow braised beef ribs, fries and onion rings are the norm. Slaw or coleslaw might seem as American as apple pie – but it actually has its roots in Europe – the word itself coming from the Dutch koolsla, an abbreviation of koolsalade ie cabbage salad.
A good coleslaw though is a world apart – a versatile, quick accompaniment to a meal. I’ve veered further and further from the traditional mayo treatment, preferring a lighter, fresher version made with buttermilk, cider vinegar and just a dollop or so of mayonnaise. Another delicious variant is a yogurt based dressing with olive oil, mustard and again a splash of vinegar or citrus.
It’s a simple way to use whatever veggies you’ve got left in the fridge – and don’t view it as solely a Summer treat – our hardy root vegetables are ideal for coleslaw – parsnips and celeriac making fantastic additions. We usually have a coleslaw to accompany lunch on Boxing day – with a few beautiful dried cranberries or sour cherries thrown in for good measure. Fresh herbs lend a welcome lift and a perfumed note. Ideal with cold cuts…and a million miles from the shop bought variety.
And what are your slaw secrets?