M. Andrew Gordon

Grilled Cole Slaw

In Side Dishes on November 3, 2010 at 7:56 am

Autumn in New England is a wonderful time for culinary explorations as there is a great wealth of food that is at, or at least still near, its peak. Squashes, pumpkins, apples, cranberries, Brussels sprouts and kale are all quite good right now.  If you’re lucky enough to hunt or know someone who hunts, the prospect of obtaining quality, fresh venison, duck, goose, or other game increases.  But there is a bitterness underlying the good fortune as there looms a long winter without a preponderance of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Thankfully, many squashes and root vegetables will keep through the winter and there are always dried beans and canned or preserved goods to turn to.  But I like to take advantage of the last remnants of truly fresh produce in the region and the cole crops such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and broccoli are prime suspects.  They are usually hardy through light frosts though a hard frost will ruin them.

This salad was born from simply needing to provide a side dish for a late season barbecue.  Thankfully, it’s remarkably simple if you omit the poached cranberries, though you will then need to make the dressing from scratch.  Grilling the cabbage softens the texture and the pears become lightly caramelized, making them just a little bit sweeter.  If you do not poach the cranberries, I would recommend adding a handful of sweetened dried cranberries in their place.

Grilled Cole Slaw

Serves 10-12

  • One small or half of a large head of green cabbage
  • One small or half of a large head of red cabbage
  • 1 medium red onion, quartered
  • 2 semi-ripe Bartlett pears, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Poached Cranberries, see below
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Light a grill and brush cabbages, onion, pears, and jalapeño with oil.  Over medium heat, grill vegetables until they begin to sear, developing grill marks, probably 15 – 20 minutes.  Remove and let cool.
  2. Slice cabbage crosswise thinly and place in a bowl.  Slice onion thin and add to cabbage.  Chop pears, removing stem and cores.  Slice the flesh off the jalapeño being careful to leave the seeds behind and dice the pepper.  Toss vegetables to mix.
  3. In small bowl, whisk together ½ cup of the wine syrup, mayonnaise, and lemon juice.  Stir in cilantro and season generously with salt and pepper.  Pour over cabbage mixture, add poached cranberries or 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries, toss to combine, and serve.

Poached Cranberries

  • 1 cup red wine, preferably a less tannic, fruity red
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  1. Combine wine, maple syrup and brown sugar in saucepan.  Stir to dissolve sugar and bring to a boil.  Cook for several minutes and then remove from heat.  Stir in cranberries and simmer over low heat until cranberries are soft, about 5 minutes.  Be careful to keep heat low enough that berries do not burst.
  2. Let cool and strain cranberries out, reserving wine syrup.
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