Future coleslaw.

Future coleslaw.

I have never been a fan of coleslaw. The word “coleslaw” makes me think of a pile of soggy green cabbage squished into a little cup on a plate next to a sandwich. I’ve always wondered why restaurants even bother serving it; no one ever eats it.

Recently, however, I had some second thoughts about my stubborn dislike. I like cabbage. I like crunchy things. I like dressing. If the components of coleslaw are potentially good, then coleslaw is potentially good. When I saw the blue cheese coleslaw recipe that went along with the buffalo chicken tenders, I knew my chance had come.

Sure enough, it was delicious. Creamy but still crunchy, both salty and sweet. My friends were pleasantly surprised; like me, they “never like coleslaw.”

I only used half a head of cabbage for the blue cheese coleslaw, so I made a second round a few days later. I adapted a Mark Bittman recipe, with some extra inspiration from this recipe. The result wasn’t quite as knock-out as the blue cheese version, but still interesting, and much lighter. I wish I had thought to buy a jalapeño to go in it to make it spicier. Maybe you should try that.

Happy crunching!

Blue Cheese Coleslaw

From Chow.com

6 celery stalks, trimmed
4 medium carrots, peeled and trimmed
1/2 medium head green cabbage (I used purple, very pretty)
3 medium shallots, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup crumbled blue cheese

1. Slice each celery stalk in half, then slice celery very thinly on a bias at a slight angle; you should have about 3 cups.

2. Use a food processor fitted with the shredding attachment to grate the carrots. (You can also cut the carrots by hand; I did this for one carrot and it was pretty excruciating.)

3. Cut a v-shaped notch into the cabbage half on either side of the core to remove it, then cut the cabbage in half again lengthwise. Slice cabbage pieces very thinly crosswise. Cut the pieces so they’re not too long, and will fit nicely on a fork.

4. Combine celery, carrots, cabbage, and shallots in a very large nonreactive mixing bowl or pot, and set aside.

5. In another bowl, combine vinegar, mayonnaise, and blue cheese, and mix well. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add dressing to vegetables, and mix until evenly coated. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

Spicy Coleslaw

Future coleslaw.

Adapted from How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman

1/2 head cabbage (I used purple), thinly sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
Dijon mustard
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
1 handful of cilantro (see the picture), finely chopped
Juice from 1/2 lime
1/4 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Toss the cabbage, bell pepper, and scallions in a bowl.

2. Make a dressing. Stir together a dollop of dijon mustard and a couple sloshes (1 tablespoon?) of balsamic vinegar. Add a couple sloshes of olive oil (2 tablespoons, maybe less?) and whisk until emulsified.

3. Toss the dressing with the cabbage mixture, then add lime juice, cilantro, peanuts, salt and pepper to taste.