Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A New Twist on Coleslaw

If you're looking for a cole slaw that's easy, this is it. Tasty. Really tasty. Different. On the Asian side. I know, that's kind of incongruous, isn't it. Cole slaw? Asian? All I can do is encourage you to try this. The sesame oil, which gives the slaw that Asian slant, is barely perceptible, but enough that it does give it a totally different flavor.
The recipe comes from Chris Schlesinger's Thrill of the Grill. He owns a reknowned restaurant in Boston, and has done the cooking school circuit too. He taught a class in Pasadena many years ago, soon after his cookbook came out. I'd already bought it, and took the book along to ask for his autograph. He kindly signed it with a flourish and asked me a question I've wished I could go back in time to answer. With a big grin on his face, he said "what's your favorite recipe in my book?" Without a thought, I said, "the Asian Slaw." He gave me a face. Disappointment? Oh, yes. Here's this nice cookbook filled with grilled meat, poultry and fish recipes (with just a few side dishes) and I tell him my favorite recipe is a cole slaw. Duh. My only defense was that I hadn't owned the book for very long. Lame, still.
Shortly after that cooking class I tried another recipe of his from the same book that has become one of my signature dishes. Well, it's his dish, but I've made it so many times for guests that people associate the dish with me. Fact is, I've served it to everybody I know and feel like I can't serve it to guests anymore. I'll post that another day (it's a grilled salmon on a watercress salad).

This slaw salad is great with a simple grilled dinner. I try to chop up the cabbage fairly small, and I usually use a combination of green and red cabbage because it's more attractive. It can't take more than 15 minutes to put together, and you serve it immediately. This does not want to sit in wait because the red cabbage bleeds into the entire salad - in fact you can prepare all the ingredients ahead, but don't mix it up until just before serving. This one is low calorie, low fat, low carbs, but it's very high on the satisfaction and flavor department.
Asian Slaw
Recipe: Adapted from The Thrill of the Grill by Chris Schlesinger
Servings: 4
1 lb cabbage -- green or red or both
1/2 whole red bell pepper
2 whole green onions -- minced
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar -- seasoned
1 tbsp sugar -- or sugar substitute
1 tsp fresh ginger root -- grated
1 tbsp sesame seeds -- toasted
1 tbsp sesame oil
salt and pepper -- to taste

1. The original recipe suggests the cabbage should be julienned (5 inches x 1/4 inches), but I just do it in the food processor, either thinly sliced or minced. I also have combined BOTH red and green cabbage for this, as it makes a very attractive salad. Do not mix up ahead as the red cabbage will bleed.
2. In a large bowl combine cabbage, pepper and green onions. In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients and just before serving, pour over the cabbage, mix well and serve.
3. NOTE: To toast the sesame seeds, heat a non-stick pan under medium-high heat. Add seeds and stir until golden brown. They burn easily, so watch carefully.
NOTES : This is a very refreshing salad and wonderful for a summer barbecue. You can reduce the sesame oil if you'd prefer a more subtle flavor and/or less fat.
Per Serving: 94 Calories; 5g Fat (41.5% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 23mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 1 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.
To view a printable recipe, click on title at top.

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