Coleslaw is a ubiquitous dish, appearing on our plates at fast food restaurants, on burgers and hot dogs, and on platters next to those ribs and chicken you have just barbequed.
Making slaw from scratch can be a bit labor intensive. Buying the ready-made versions from you deli counter can often be disappointing, even when you try to doctor them with additional ingredients.
Here is the great slaw compromise.
You can buy packages of shredded cabbage, and other ingredients, in the produce section of your grocery store. These are fresh, clean, and unadorned with dressing.
Ah, the dressing. That’s your role. Just make this very wonderful slaw dressing from Perfect Vinaigrettes by Linda Danneberg. Perfect Vinaigrettes is a book we have on the closest shelf in our kitchen. We are always turning to this charmer for ideas and inspiration.
You can just follow the recipe ideas in Perfect Vinaigrettes and have a success. Or, if you feel experimental, take one of these recipes and embellish it: change the vinegar type, more vinegar, less mustard, more herbs. The recipes here are all solid templates for salad success.
We used this particular recipe for packaged slaw and enjoyed it on three consecutive nights: with ribs, with burgers, and then with crab cakes.
This dressing works for both slaw [6 cups of shredded veggies] or potato salad [6 cups of boiled and then sliced potatoes]
Creamy Caraway Seed Dressing for Coleslaw
Yield: serves 6
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 heaping teaspoon finely minced onion
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
In a bowl combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, and several generous turns of the pepper, and stir until the salt and sugar dissolved. Stir in the onion and caraway seeds, and then add the mayonnaise and cream. Whisk until the dressing is airy, thoroughly blended and smooth.
Place the coleslaw mixture or potatoes in a bowl. Pour the dressing on top, and then toss gently to mix.
Adjust the seasonings to taste, then refrigerate for several hours. Stir once again just before serving.
Source: Perfect Vinaigrettes by Linda Dannenberg
I was looking for Paul Newman, dressed as a Russian Tsar.
I could not find him.
I was in my local market, trying to buy a bottle of Russian salad dressing. No luck with Newman’s brand. Or any other. No one makes Russian dressing. No one. How can that be? After all, it was created here in America, not in Russia.
Russian dressing is that smooth, salmon-colored dressing you find at burger joints. I was in a burger mood, and I wanted that dressing, and I was out of luck.
My journey to obtaining Russian dressing was longer than I expected. I went home and began research. I tried different cookbooks and the web. Here’s the summary: there is absolutely no consensus on what should be in Russian dressing, or the proportions. Something white: mayo or yogurt generally. Something red: ketchup or cocktail sauce. But after that, different recipes suggest everything: Worchester sauce, hot sauce, onion, pickle relish, horseradish, celery salt, onion salt, celery seeds, mustard seeds, …
Suzen said it should be mayo, ketchup, and cornichon juice. When she was growing up, she remembers just mayo and ketchup. But maybe …
I experimented. The ingredients that some recipes specify, those salts or seeds, come free with pickles. And pickles are good. Suzen had said cornichon juice. So, I did both: the juice and the cornichons.
I made the recipe below and I found it ideal for the burger. And for the fries. This dressing is so easy to make, that I won’t be haunting the supermarket aisles searching for a picture of Russian tsar anymore.
Brian’s Russian Dressing
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup ketchup
5 cornichons, diced
2 teaspoons cornichon juice
1 shallot diced
Dash of black pepper
Place the mayonnaise and ketchup in a bowl and whisk. Add the cornichons, cornichon juice and onions and whisk to mix. Add the pepper and stir until the pepper has disappeared. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Source: Brian O’Rourke