Step Up Your Slaw

With the weather warming up, it’s time to start enjoying seasonal vegetables and beloved picnic foods. For many who are interested in culinary arts programs, that means mixing up a batch of coleslaw to enjoy with chicken and other grilled items. Here are some ideas that will make your next bowl of slaw great and may even change the way you look at this classic side dish:

1. Perfect a classic
There’s nothing wrong with an old-school coleslaw, as in a recipe from Bon Appetit that requires a simple combination of shredded cabbage and carrot, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, honey, celery seed, salt and pepper. Whisk together the dressing ingredients, toss in the vegetables and the slaw is ready to go.

While some like their coleslaw with plenty of crunch, others, including the Food Network’s Bobby Flay, prefer a creamier mix. His version includes two tablespoons of sour cream. He also throws in grated Spanish onion and a tablespoon of dry mustard for added flavor.

Asian Slaw

2. Make carrots the star
If you’re not crazy about cabbage, a carrot slaw might be the way to go. Alton Brown’s take on this dish uses two pounds of carrots, mayonnaise, kosher salt, canned pineapple, raisins, curry powder, minced garlic and sugar. The Kitchn suggested giving the slaw an interesting twist by adding the crisp, knob-like vegetable kohlrabi. If you can track these bulbs down at your local farmers’ market, they will contribute a mild flavor while making your side stand out.

3. Spice it up
If you’re feeling adventurous, there are plenty of ways to prepare a slaw with intriguing, flavorful ingredients in addition to the usual cabbage. Real Simple offered an extra-crunchy variation that calls for scallions along with Greek yogurt and apples. Ree Drummond suggested reaching for the whole milk, cayenne pepper and cilantro.

Dave Lieberman’s Asian-style slaw brings some bolder tastes to the table, featuring scallions, onion, soy sauce, lemon juice, vegetable oil, ginger, white vinegar, brown sugar and sesame oil. Bon Appetit presented a miso slaw that mixes the fermented soybean paste with mayonnaise, rice vinegar, ginger, soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil. The recipe advised topping the cabbage, carrots, scallions and chives with sesame seeds and the Japanese spice mixture nanami togarashi.

Whatever approach you choose for your slaw, it makes a refreshing mix of crunch and creaminess that is perfect for the spring and summer months. The creative mixtures of ingredients that you learn in culinary institutes can help you craft a new signature side.

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