For a long time, I thought I didn’t like coleslaw. Even though the origin of the word is Dutch*, my encounters with the stuff have mostly been limited to summers spent in England. From early on, I had learned to avoid the unappealing pool of sweet, mayonnaise-drenched cabbage that seemed to come with nearly every sandwich or ploughman’s lunch and in some cases even wreaked havoc on the bread it was snuggling up to. It was only this past summer, on the roof terrace of a pub in a Cornish fishing village, that I discovered things could be different. Overlooking the harbour, I tasted coleslaw that was fresh, tangy and delicious. White cabbage is not essentially a summer vegetable, though. On the contrary. In a time of year when even broccoli and cauliflower have to be brought in from Spain, white cabbage is still here: cheap, local and full of vitamin C. I guess you could say that February, while possibly the dreariest month of the year, is in fact the perfect time for coleslaw. Not the gloopy kind, but a crispy, tangy version with a creamy mustard-cashew dressing, capers and toasted hazelnuts.
*coleslaw is an American corruption of the Dutch “koolsla” which means cabbage salad.
1/4 white cabbage, sliced very thinly/shredded
1/2 carrot, in very thin matchsticks
1/4 a small red onion, in very thin slices (any more and it will overpower the rest!)
1 tbsp capers
handful of hazelnuts
for the dressing:
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
8 tbsp water
4 tbsp white cashew butter
2-3 tsp wholegrain mustard
pinch of salt
- Toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan until golden brown and set aside
- Mix the sliced cabbage, carrot and onion in a bowl.
- Combine the ingredients for the dressing and blend with a stick blender until smooth.
- Add the dressing and the capers to the salad and mix well.
- Finally, roughly chop the hazelnuts and add them.
- Eat as a side dish or do as I do and put it on top of a toasted slice of wholegrain sourdough.
- This coleslaw keeps in the fridge for at least a couple of days, although it will lose some of its crunch over time. If you’re planning on making it a day in advance, you might also want to keep the hazelnuts separate and add them just before serving.