I don’t know if it’s the same in every family, but growing up my family had a habit of making up strange names for common foods. For example, “bagels and cream cheese” somehow morphed into “beagles and clam cheese”. I don’t know if one of us kids said it this way once and the terminology just stuck – or if my parents made it up just to mess with us. Whatever the case, there were just certain things we said. It was the Strannigan way.
But, now I am a grown adult and most of the strange terms from childhood have faded away. But there are the few that linger. Specifically, the term cold slop. In my family, coleslaw was known as cold slop. To my young brain, it made complete sense. I mean, think about it. Coleslaw isn’t usually very attractive: its made of limp, sad bits of shredded cabbage that are doused in some sort of soupy mayo-based dressing. It generally resembled slop. (To be fair, I am not insulting my mother’s cooking. Quite the contrary, I am referring to church potlucks and styrofoam bowls of KFC coleslaw.)
All that to say: it’s time that I put my childish views of coleslaw (ahem…cold slop) behind me. This summer, I decided to make an awesome coleslaw.
I have to thank Grant Butler for this recipe. He writes a column in The Oregonian’s Food Day called “Going Vegan” and did a feature on vegan slaws a few months back, and I loved it. While he dreamed up many slaw recipes, the one that got my attention was this – Endive, Fennell, and Apple slaw. What is not to like about that?
So I tried it (and loved it). I’ve been making versions of his Endive, Fennel, and Apple slaw all summer. I will say, that I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit and have made it my own. While I love endive, it can be expensive and I found that it didn’t quite have the crunch of cabbage. And, for girl’s night this week we had pulled pork sandwiches – and I felt that a cabbage slaw would hold up better with the pork. Feel free to make the original version of the slaw – the recipe can be found here.
Or, if you’re feeling sassy, you can make my version, which is below.
Cabbage Slaw with Fennel, Apple, and Jalapeno
For the slaw:
1 small head of purple cabbage
1 pink lady apple
1 medium to large fennel bulb (reserve some fennel fronds for the dressing)
For the dressing:
1 small shallot, diced
2-3 Tbl apple cider vinegar
1 – 2 Tsp of chopped fennel fronds (from the top of your bulb)
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
**Optional ingredient: 1/3 cup Vegenaise or Mayo (I happen to like my coleslaw a little creamy so I use a little Vegenaise. If you make the slaw without mayo, just up the amount of olive oil and cider vinegar)
Using a food processor (with a slicing blade), a mandolin, or a sharp knife, cut the cabbage, apple, and fennel into thin strips. (I find that a food processor is the fastest, but it also makes for an uglier slaw. I like to use a knife because I cut things thin & pretty!)
Dice the jalapeno (include seeds and membrane at your risk/desired heat level). Add 1/2 the jalapeno to the slaw now, and once you’ve dressed the slaw taste and see if it needs more spice. If so, add the rest of the pepper.
Mix the dressing ingredients (shallot, fennel fronds, vinegar, oil, s&p and mayo if using). Pour gently over the cabbage mixture. Use enough dressing to just coat the cabbage, you don’t want a soggy slaw.