So, when was the last time you woke up in the morning and said to yourself, “I’m really in the mood for some coleslaw!”? I know, right? Coleslaw can be tasty, satisfying, perfect with certain favorites, but rarely crave-worthy. Unless you’re my dad.
My father, Don Bernstein (he was Donald first, and that makes the name safe from reproach IMO) turned 82 the other day, and this blog post is dedicated to him. Happy Birthday, Dad!! Dad always has coleslaw in the house. When I was a kid and I’d come down for a drink of water in the middle of the night, I’d often find Dad, in his boxers, standing in front of the fridge, munching on big forkfuls of coleslaw. Sometimes, he’d make it himself, but often, he’d pick it up at the deli.
A few months ago, when Brian was home, I saw a big, ugly, hairy knob of fresh horseradish at the market, and bought it on impulse. Have you ever ground your own horseradish? It’s kind of a revelation. It’ll blow your sinuses out when you make it, and again when you eat it. I learned how from Amy Theilen. Peel the root, cut it into chunks, and pulverize in the food processor until it’s finely ground. Then, mix in a little vinegar, salt, and sugar to taste. It is very fumish, and tastes super strong at first, so if you try it, be careful!
I think it was Brian’s idea to try adding the horseradish to coleslaw. I’d already made a version of my traditional creamy slaw with blue cheese. Throwing in some horseradish didn’t seem intuitive at first, but when we tried it, we were hooked. Creamy, spicy, savory, crunchy, a little bit sweet…this is a salad that tastes great with so many things. And you very well may wind up standing in front of the fridge in the middle of the night eating right out of the bowl!
Special thanks to my angel, Mary for helping with the post. And for making a MOVIE about it!!! So fun!
Also, before I get to the recipe, I have a bit of news. I did a Q and A for Propped! If you haven’t checked out Propped yet, you must! So wonderful, “a marketplace for modern day heirlooms.” I love these folks. Their work is stylish, grounded, and thoughtful; simultaneously homey and utterly current. It has been a terrific honor working with them and I am expecting great things to come.
Seriously Craveworthy Coleslaw
I shred the cabbage using the slicing disk of my Cuisinart. But you can do it by hand if you prefer. The technique for preparing the cabbage comes from Cook’s Illustrated.
½ head green cabbage, shredded
2 tsp. fine sea salt
2 tsp. cane sugar
1 carrot, grated
2 tbs. prepared horseradish
2 oz. blue cheese, preferably Roquefort, crumbled
1 scallion, sliced
2 tbs. white balsamic vinegar
¼ cup mayo
¼ cup sour cream
optional: a dash of Worcestershire
Place the cabbage in a large colander and sprinkle with salt and sugar. Toss well and let stand for ½ hour or so for the cabbage to wilt.
Mix up the ingredients for the dressing (everything below carrots).
Use a towel or paper towel to blot excess moisture from the cabbage. You don’t need to be fanatical about this, a little juiciness is ok, but you don’t want to water down the dressing too much.
Now, place everything in a really big bowl or pot and mix with your hands. Yes, you can do it with a spoon or tongs, but your hands are better. Serve immediately or refrigerate until bedtime.