Fancy-Pants Slaw

This may be hard to believe, since I’ve written so much about it over the past few days, but that 10K I ran on Sunday morning wasn’t my only weekend activity. On Saturday night (the night before the big race), I was invited to a potluck, and you know me… I love an excuse to try out or create a new recipe.

I decided to bring a salad. I’m good at salads, and my Saturday before the potluck was kinda packed, so it was something that could come together relatively quickly, and I wouldn’t have to worry about it staying hot. I found an idea for a dressing and another element that sounded good in The Farm to Table Cookbook (which I modified, naturally), but the salad they recommended serving it on sounded kinda blah. And since cole slaw seems like a very potlucky-type dish, I decided that was the way to go.

This dish has a really long name. Are you ready? Here’s how I made my…

Cabbage & Apple Slaw, with Balsamic-Soaked Currants, Toasted Pecans, and Sweet Ginger Curry Dressing.

Whew, that title is a mouthful!  This recipe makes a lot of salad, so you may want to consider halving it before you commit to buying ingredients.

Preparations began on Friday night. First thing on the to-do list: Balsamic-Soaked Currants. Currants are a variety of small raisins that date back to ancient Greece. They look like raisins and taste like raisins, but they’re called currants so stores can charge more for them (just a guess). I’ve had currants in scones and granola and other baked goods, but this may have been the first time I’ve bought them:

See? I told you they look like raisins. I put about a cup of them in an airtight container, and added enough balsamic vinegar until they were covered:

I let them sit in the fridge overnight, but all they really need is an hour or to. There! Balsamic-soaked currants… done.

I also made the dressing on Friday night. I pulled out my blender, and started with the first ingredient: a Granny Smith apple:

Hmmm… maybe I should peel, core, and chop that apple, huh?

Much better. That’s two cups of apple, which actually turned out to be one and a half Granny Smiths. Then I added all sorts of good stuff:

  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (apple cider vinegar would be good too)

The Farm to Table recipe called for 1/2 cup of oil, but there’s no way I was adding that much oil, so I modified it, and added 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 more tablespoons vinegar, and 1/4 water. Blend it until it’s smooth, and you end up with:

It’s the curry that gives it the fantastic color!

The last thing I did on Friday night was toast some pecans. I forgot to take pictures, but I threw about 2 cups of pecan halves in a 10″ skillet (no need for oil, butter, or spray of any kind), and put them on medium-low heat for about 5-7 minutes. You know they’re done when you can smell ’em! And they smell great!

On Saturday, all I had to do was assemble the salad, which involved a lot of chopping. First item on the cutting board: cabbage:

That’s a savoy cabbage, which has leaves that are more wrinkly than regular green cabbage. I removed and tossed the outer-most leaves, chopped it in half, cut out the thick core, and chopped it up:

The entire cabbage went in the bowl. I wanted a little color and variety, so I also added 1/2 of a red cabbage:

Then, about 6 or 7 stalks of celery, chopped:

And half of a red onion, sliced. A little onion goes a long way:

Next up, more apple. I wanted to buy Braeburn, because I’ve read that they’re the most resistant to browning, and I thought I bought Braeburn, but when I got home from the store, it turned out they were Honeycrisp. I guess I wasn’t paying attention to the signs in the produce section. Or maybe they were mislabeled. Either way, Honeycrisps are great apples – firm and crunchy and sweet – so I chopped 5 of them. I left the skins on, to add color.

Time for the finishing touches! I pulled out the currants, which had been soaking up the balsamic all night, and started scooping them out with a slotted spoon:

These are pungent little fellows! Sweet, with a balsamic kick – very tasty. I put about half of them in the bowl, along with half of the pecans. I added the dressing…

…and tossed it all together. Then, I sprinkled the other half of the currants and pecans on top, to make it purdy. Wanna see the final result?


I added a sign so everyone knew what they were getting into:

That’s painters’ tape, so the bowl doesn’t get damaged.

The potluck was a lot of fun. I met a lot of new people, and I think the slaw was a hit. People seemed to be eating it!

I bought too much cabbage, though, and there’s still 1/2 of a red cabbage and an entire second savoy cabbage in my fridge. Another slaw may be in my future…

Keep it up, David!

7 Responses to Fancy-Pants Slaw

  1. erin says:

    Looks awesome! Just a future slaw suggestion here: Mustard & barbecue sauce (combined) also go great as a slaw topping and keep it low fat (fat-free) and relatively calorie-low.

  2. Alix says:

    David, I don’t eat coleslaw. Can’t explain that one, since my people are from Indiana, but I really dislike it. This, however, sounds heavenly! You may have just found a reason for me to eat slaw. Thanks, man! {:-)

  3. Maren says:

    That looks amazing. Just amazing.

  4. auntiekim says:

    The slaw looks really good and that’s not something I’d normally be drawn to. And I love how you labeled the bowl! I must remember that tip for my next potluck.

  5. Mom says:

    That looks deeeelicious!! Can’t wait to try it, maybe in CO?

  6. Bella says:

    This salad look delish! It not a 1-2-3 recipe, but it looks like it’s worth the effort. And labeling the inside of the bowl that way is genius.

  7. WOW! I love salads, and slaw, and apples and this is definitely next on my list. I really like the idea of soaking the currants in balsamic vinegar. One thing that I have discovered is that in recipes like this where the dressing calls for oil, I substitute a 6 oz. carton of plain non-fat Greek yogurt. It gives the dressing a creamy texture and it sticks to the veggies better. You can’t tell that there’s yogurt in it by the taste. – Mary

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