Apple-Cabbage Slaw from Cook’s Illustrated Summer Grilling, 2011

Yes, this is from Cook’s Illustrated’s Grill issue and no, there were no briquettes injured in the making of this dish. Tucked in the pages of grilling meats and vegetables are a variety of side dishes that are really worth looking at.

Next to the Ultra-Spicy Barbecued Pork Ribs (and yes, that’s tabbed for making) is a delicious-looking recipe for Barbecued Baked Beans.  With the Texas Barbecued Beef Ribs, Creamy Coleslaw with adaptations for cajun and deli-style. Having Green-Chile Cheeseburgers? How about Beer-Battered Onion Rings to go with them. I love it that they do that.

Some time ago, I make the Classic Charcoal-Barbecued Chicken, which was awesome. The side dish tucked on the right page was a Tangy Apple-Cabbage Slaw. At the time I didn’t have any cabbage so I couldn’t make it, but a few days ago my neighbor brought over one from her garden. Remember her? I give her my garbage for compost and in return she gives me vegetables. It’s a heavenly partnership.

The Tangy Apple-Cabbage Slaw was meant to be.

The Process
Even though I’m not all that good at slicing cabbing really, really thinly, I did my best. The magazine says to chop, but I really prefer the slivers more so than chopped up bits so I went that route even though it’s a route that shows how lacking my knife skills are. Once the cabbage was sliced, I put it in a colander and added salt, then tossed it and let it sit an hour. After a good rinse, I dried it between paper towels, put it in a large bowl, add matchsticked Granny Smith apple and sliced scallion. That’s the salad part.

The dressing is just as simple and is hot. It consists of vinegar, sugar, oil, Dijon mustard, and red pepper flakes all heated in a small saucepan. Even though you pour it immediately on the slaw, I promise that it won’t wilt things. In fact, because of the heat, the cabbage absorbs the flavor more quickly. Once you toss to mix it all together, put it in the fridge and let it do it’s thing for an hour, or day. When ready to serve, add as much salt and pepper as you want and you’re good to go.

The Verdict
Hubby isn’t a coleslaw fan (cabbage in general), but he said that as far as coleslaws went, this was one of the best he’d ever had. Dudette gave it a big thumbs up, which kind of surprised me. I enjoyed it very much as well. While I like mayo-based slaws, the vinegar-based are my favorite because they are so much lighter and feel more summery. With the addition of the apple, this is even more in that direction. The dressing is well-balanced; not too sweet, but not cloying of vinegar. I liked the addition of the red pepper flakes too. They added a hint of color and a burst of heat on the tongue.

What I’d Do Different Next Time
I can’t think of a darn thing. Seriously.

Tangy Apple-Cabbage Slaw
from Cook’s Illustrated Summer Grilling, 2011

1 pound green cabbage (about 1/2 medium head), cored and chopped fine
Table salt
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into thin matchsticks
1 scallion, sliced thin
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Ground black pepper

In a colander, toss together the cabbage with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Let sit until wilted; about an hour. Rinse with cold water, drain and dry cabbage well with paper towels. Add the cabbage to a large bowl with the apple and scallion.

In a medium saucepan, bring the vinegar, sugar, oil, Dijon mustard and red pepper flakes to a boil. Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss to coat.

Cover and refrigerate the slaw until chilled (1 hour to 1 day). Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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