This recipe is taken from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman, p104 ISBN: 0-4717-8918-6, published March 2006.
I love coleslaw. I love mayonnaise. But I don’t like the two of them together. Flipping through the book, How to Cook Everything, I came across this strange recipe that called for dijon and balsamic vinegar in the dressing. It sounded curious, so I decided to try it. The recipe title, spicy coleslaw, didn’t quite match the listing of ingredients. Spicy, to me, invokes the concept of heat – from spice or from temperature, but heat none the less. There is no heat to this recipe; but there is a whole lot of flavour.
The dressing is an oil-and vinegar mix, flavoured with dijon, scallions and parsley. It is sweetened with sugar and the vinegar of choice (either sherry or balsamic). When made with balsamic the color of the dressing is a darkening brown that thickens as you whisk in the oil. I found it off-putting.
When mixed in with the mostly white mix of cabbages and red bell peppers, it almost resembled a pourable chocolate. The taste, however, was amazing. The tartness of the my old balsamic mixed with the more classical notes of dijon made this a unique salad. The coleslaw mix was crunchy and the sweetness of the peppers made me wonder just how necessary the sugar really was.
The recipe is a very quick cold salad that will last 24 hours sealed in the fridge. The dressing, however, coagulates in the cold and makes the coldslaw clump in a most unattractive manner. It is best if made fresh and eaten at room temperature, or just below. Fortunately, there was not a lot of it left to experiment with leftovers.