In terms of slaw making, I dig the technique of salting cabbage to draw some of the water out, which further softens the cabbage. Once the cabbage is salted and squeezed of its natural moisture, it sucks up flavorful dressing. Not to be misleading—the cabbage still has a little crunch, but has been penetrated by the salting. Coleslaw is the perfect thing for topping burgers, tacos, sandwiches—really, anything off the grill—which is perfect for this time of the year and the 4th of July weekend coming up.
My version of the recipe is easy to make and creamy but light—it explodes with flavor and is ready to serve to a crowd at a summer BBQ. I like to keep leftovers in small, recycled grab-n-eat containers for easy snacking at any hour of the day over the next couple of days. Kept like this, the texture becomes softer and the flavors literally melt together.
Red Cabbage & Cantaloupe Slaw
(recipe makes 4 portions)
1 1/2 cups honeydew melon, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 small head red cabbage
3 stalks scallions, sliced 1/8-inch wide
2 limes, juiced
1 teaspoon sea salt
5 black pepper grindings from the mill
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
1) Remove tough outer leaves from the cabbage, then cut out tough core and throw out. Slice cabbage with a knife or a kitchen mandoline.
2) Season cabbage with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let sit at room temperature. After 30 minutes, spin cabbage in a salad dryer or press between the palms of your hands—this will remove excess water from the cabbage.
3) Cut the jalapeño in half, then remove and throw out the seeds and white inner walls. Cut jalapeño into 1/8-inch cubes.
4) In a bowl, combine cabbage, melon, jalapeño, scallions, lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, coconut milk and olive oil, then toss.
Chef’s Note: Herbs make a terrific addition to a slaw recipe. Add them finely cut, about two tablespoons of the following will suffice: cilantro, parsley, basil or tarragon.