I love coleslaw and all its interpretations. I grew up in New York City, and am very familiar with the more traditional, sweet coleslaw made of cabbage, carrots and mayonnaise-based dressing. I especially like this style of slaw on an all-beef hot dot with spicy mustard. As I started making this style of slaw on my own, I added a good amount of freshly ground black pepper and grew to love it even more.
Made from thinly sliced raw vegetables, slaws can not only be tasty, but add a refreshing cold crunch to your dinner as a side dish, or try topping a burger with slaw, or even a hot dog. Besides slaws tasting great, they boast great color, versatility and popularity. In 2015 in the Chicago Tribune, Judy Hevredjs reported on slaw options that don’t feature cabbage.
I’m loving the creativity of “new” versions of slaw that are popping up on restaurant menus across the country like Pies-n-Thighs in Williamsburg, NY, and Strangers & Saints in Provincetown, MA, and Pork Shoppe in Chicago, IL. The making of slaw is such an easy task – almost as easy as making a salad and a fresh vinaigrette. I was inspired by a purchase of Hot Chinese Mustard powder from Atlantic Spice in Truro on Cape Cod (a well know spice retailer that has almost any spice you might imagine). So, with a limited pantry in a summer home, and a tiny kitchen, I created a slaw of fennel, radishes, and red cabbage. I was able to add Thai basil from my recently planted herb garden and managed to make a Chinese Mustard-Peanut Dressing with the few Asian ingredients I have on hand.
½ teaspoon Chinese mustard powder
1 Tablespoon peanut butter
¼ teaspoon anchovy paste
½ clove garlic, very finely minced
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
½ cup peanut oil
¼ teaspoon roasted sesame oil
6 Thai basil leaves, cut in chiffonade
¼ bulb fennel, trimmed, cored, shaved
4 medium red radishes, cut in matchsticks
2 scallions, very thinly sliced
¼ head of a small red cabbage, very thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
Whisk together the mustard, peanut butter, anchovy paste, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl until thoroughly blended.
Whisk in the peanut and sesame oils, in a slow steady stream until fully incorporated and thick. Set aside.
Toss the Thai basil, fennel, radish, scallion, red cabbage, salt, pepper and enough of the vinaigrette in a large mixing bowl until slaw is lightly and evenly coated in the vinaigrette. Serve at once with remaining dressing on the side.