Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cabbage and Fennel Slaw

I bought an adorable baseball-sized cabbage recently at a farmers' market, as well as some lovely purple scallions. The vendor I spoke with told me she'd made stuffed cabbage rolls the day before, which I adore (and haven't made in ages). But I didn't need any recommendations or ideas, because I already knew what I would make with my purchase: cole slaw.

Most people are very particular about their cole slaw, and most seem to prefer the creamy variety. I am happy to eat large quantities of that; but if given a choice, I'd rather this simple, vinegary variety. It's light, and it has no mayonnaise which would spoil if taken to a picnic or a barbecue.

Those who have lived in the Detroit area for long enough (like lil' ol' moi, who moved here in August, 1978) remember the Susie Q restaurant that used to be on Woodward north of 12 Mile. They were noted for their fish and chips, and also for their cole slaw which featured a vinegar-based, rather than a creamy, dressing.

I remember loving it immediately upon tasting it, and my friend Michele also has excellent memories of it. She even agreed, upon trying this slaw once, that it wasn't exactly the same but was remarkably close to the Susie Q's version. And I wasn't even trying to replicate the recipe! It was just bashert [bah-SHAYRT]: "destiny," in Hebrew.

If you remember the Susie Q and want to indulge in a taste memory; or if you just want a great salad to accompany virtually any main dish, this is the recipe you want to make with your farmers' market or garden bounty. It's not too tart, and the flavors are bright and refreshing. It's an ideal summery side dish!

Cabbage and Fennel Slaw

1 small cabbage (the size of a baseball)
3 large scallions (purple, if possible)
1 small head fennel, fronds removed
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon sugar

Cut cabbage in half and cut out the core; slice very thinly across the core, and place the slices into a large mixing bowl.

Trim half of the green ends of the scallions, and chop very thin; add to the cabbage.

Cut the fennel in half vertically, then slice each half very thinly; add to the cabbage.

Combine the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar; mix thoroughly, then pour over the cabbage. Stir to coat the cabbage with the dressing, place into a covered storage container and refrigerate for at least one hour (the longer, the better).


Nicole said...

If only I liked cabbage and fennel.. hmmm.. I guess this just might be the first one I would have to pass on... though, I bet it is fantastic.. if you like cabbage!

Candace said...

I was just talking to my sister-in-law last night about cabbage rolls and how we hadn't had them in a long time. haha I absolutely love a vinegar-ey cole slaw. I love how you've used fennel in yours. I'm quite sure that this is fantastic. I've never seen purple scallions though. That is another something wonderful that I will have to seek out like the precious garlic scapes which I absolutely adore, by the way! Thanks for sharing your recipe, Mary! Have a beautiful day!

Jenn said...

Although I prefer the creamy style coleslaw, I would never turn this away!! Looks and sounds wonderful!!

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

I can see how the vinegar based slaw would be divine on some bbq!! I don't do much cole slaw around here, must change that :)

Miriam said...

Love this!! And farmer's markets :), Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

Cranberry Morning said...

I am embarrassed to admit that I've never ever used fennel in anything. I see I need to change that. I love cabbage and trust your judgement. :-)

I've a 3 1/2 year old grandson here all week, so I'm not sure how often I'll get online. Hope you have a great week! Thanks for all your nice comments.

Karen Harris said...

I prefer vinegar based slaw dressings too and this one sounds delicious. The other recipe I love is Edwina Gadsby's Southern Living recipe which uses garlic chili sauce, rice vinegar and orange or lime juice. It is wonderful too.

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