Saturday, May 5, 2007

Chompin’ on the Savoy – Confetti Cole Slaw

There is a list of certain foods that Scott, my husband, absolutely will not eat, the reasons of which are as complicated, mundane or unfathomable as anyone else’s culinary peccadilloes. Quite possibly this is the shortest list of verboten victuals ever known to me. But it is a list nonetheless, one which I take very seriously, not only because the customer is always right, but because you want the customer to have seconds, thereby minimizing the risk of too many leftovers that you couldn’t possibly eat all by yourself no matter how much you’d love to.

Savoy Cabbage

Considering how short the list is (eggplant, fin fish, cabbage), you would think I’d just shut up and work around it, confining my consumption of items on the list for when we aren’t dining together. For the most part this does work, but there are occasions when one’s culinary creativity feels cramped, or the cravings for an offending item crop up when you are just snapping on the stove burners and getting out the shiny blades. These are the times when you can exercise the equally unfathomable loopholes, when eggplant gets a pass in moussaka, but not in ratatouille, and when fish cakes are friendly, but a slab of fried flounder is a fiend.

Remarkably, cabbage gets the green light, too, sometimes, but only when it’s very green, very clean and very new. Why cole slaw makes the grade, I will never know, but I’m not quibbling, I’m celebrating and about to toss a bowl full of confetti, cabbage confetti with home-made dressing, to go with the fish cakes.

Confetti Cole Slaw


1 small – medium head of Savoy cabbage, a milder variety of green cabbage
¾ cup apple cider vinegar or other light, non-red vinegar
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped yellow, green and/or red pepper
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1/3 cup finely chopped scallion, greens only

(Note: cole slaw is as individual as spaghetti sauce. Outside of cabbage, there are no rights or wrongs regarding other ingredients, quantities or dressing. It's entirely up to you, and the results will be entirely satisfying regardless. Chilled cabbage makes for a crisper slaw. Blender technique courtesy of my mother.)


Combine vinegar with sugar and salt in small saucepan, heating until sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Remove outer, darker and soiled leaves from cabbage. Cut off stem end and part of core, but it’s unnecessary to completely core the head. Wash cabbage under cold running water, checking inside the looser leaves for an insect or two. Coarsely cut the head into cubes approximately 2 inches overall and place cubes in a blender. Fill blender with cold water, fully covering cabbage cubes. Pulse blender until cabbage shreds and chips into confetti, taking care not to over process; over processing causes mushy results. Drain cabbage in a large colander or strainer. Since the cabbage itself will release a lot of its own water, you can reserve the liquid for a vegetable stock if desired. Allow cabbage at least 15 minutes to drain.

In a large bowl combine the drained cabbage with the other vegetables. Pour dressing over slaw, mixing well. Set aside for at least ½ hour for flavors to develop.

Serves 6. --

This post is my submission for Weekend Herb Blogging # 81, being hosted this week by the creator of the event, Kalyn Denny of Kalyn's Kitchen.


  1. What a great post. Fantastic photos, and I love the description of how you accommodate your husbands culinary preferences! Love the idea of using this type of cabbage in a salad. I'm a cabbage fan and will even eat it just plain, raw, as a snack, which probably would disgust your husband!

  2. Those 'forbidden' lists can be great places to work ones kitchen-seductress skills!

    Brillant technique with the blending of cabbage and water - the leaves must remain bright, crisp and crunchy. They look sparklingly fresh and crinkly.

  3. Kalyn - I just suggested a plate of unadorned cabbage to my husband, and the light went out of his eyes. I'm with you, though - love the stuff, so healthy and satisfying. Thanks for your kind words.

    Lucy - You're right. Food finesse is everything. ; } I hope the slaw does remain "fresh and crinkly." I made a ton of it this morning, enough to last quite a few days. We may have to work quickly to polish it off!

  4. everyone has their thing - for me its canned tuna fish. I love cooked tuna, something about the shelf stable variety gives me with willies...I have trouble being around other people who are eating it! :P

    Cabbage, or virtually any vegetable is fine by me..

  5. I have my "thing," too, Doug. So horrified I am, that I can't even call it by name: begins with a "T" and is a type of pudding or used in bubble tea. Perhaps some day I'll blog about it, but I'll need plenty of courage and stomach. I can tell you this much, there will be no kitchen-tested recipe. ; ]

  6. The coleslaw with the pickle-like dressing is indeed a perfect match for fish cakes. How do you make your fish cakes? We have a variety of fish cakes here in the Caribbean.

  7. Susan, very pretty! That's the way I love cole slaw too. Very colorful with lots of zing. I've almost got my husband converted too.

  8. Hi, Cynthia - I make them with freshly cooked cod, scrod or flounder mixed with mashed potatoes, onion and seasonings, bound with some egg. They are then rolled in breadcrumbs, chilled to set, then fried. I've also made them with canned tuna and scallions added to the mashed potatoes, and served with soy sauce, but that's clearly not the American style. How about you? Have you posted on your fish cakes yet?

  9. Thanks, Glenna. It's amazing just how zingy the simple Pennsylvania Dutch dressing is. For all the fancier food I enjoy, I love farm cooking no less.

  10. What a nice slaw! Isn't savoy cabbage wonderful? It's sweet, tender, crunchy, pretty, and oddly-brain-like all at the same time.

    I hope you've had a nice weekend.

  11. Susan, your photos are such a treat for the eye--the colors and the way you compose them are just a delight. I found myself making a little gasp of enjoyment as I first saw your post. Sound effects--a true sign of admiration! :) Thank you!

  12. your blog makes v enjoyable reading, susan. and i like the technique for cabbage confetti. i don't get savoy cabbage where i live but have a good food processor which minces cabbage if i ever want cabbage mince!

  13. Christina - I love the simplicity of slaw or of any recipe, for that matter. It's like writing, just as important what you leave out as what you include; less is more sometimes. Weekend was a wonder, cherry blossoms barely showering, birds and squirrels nesting.... Hope you savored every moment of yours, too.

    Sher - I am grinning ear-to-ear, like the Cheshire Cat. Thank you. You're so sweet. Though I still have much to learn about photography, I'm happy my blog is evolving into more dedicated visuals, and that it can give others the pleasure it gives me. It's hardly all about me.

    Sra - I'd have a good food processor, too, but my dear little kitchen can't spare the space. I'd love to give the microwave the heave-ho, but my husband is rather attached to it from his bachelor days. : ) Welcome to my blog. Thanks for your kind words.

  14. your partner thinks like me. i hate cooked cabbage, 'cos it stinks. i like slaw because it isn't cooked. nice recipe.

    also, i refuse to eat eggplant unless it's baba ghanouj.

  15. Yes, Bee, it does fairly reek when cooked. Slaw's easier anyway. I haven't had baba ghanoush since before I met my husband. It's time I set up a blind date.

  16. Do you know that this recipe is featured in today's (3/12/08) Foodbuzz homepage? I looked at it and wondered why I did not remember it and then I realized it was from before I met you in the food blogosphere. Very nice touch, as usual.

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