I guess there is a reason why Germans are often referred to as Krauts: we do eat a good amount of cabbage. I’m really more of a Sauerkraut and red cabbage kind of person, but my husband loves stuffed cabbage (which is apparently quite time-intensive to make and since it’s meat I have absolutely no ambition of learning how to make them) and coleslaw. He buys the latter in small plastic bowls at the supermarket, which is always a messy affair, because they break open due to the fermenting and the juices ooze out. The manufacturer also adds a huge amount of sugar, I think, because it’s always sticky, too – and probably quite full of preservatives.
When I saw how much a tiny plastic container cost and how cheap a cabbage head is, I thought I should at least try making my own coleslaw and see how that turned out. I’m not as huge a fan of coleslaw as my husband happens to be, but I do like to indulge on occasion and I do enjoy learning how to make new dishes, so I tried this for the first time about a year ago. I also tried making my own Sauerkraut back then, but for the time being I’ll leave it to the experts. Since cabbage is back in season and available widely at the supermarket, I figure I will make coleslaw one or two times during the coming months. I would make it more often, but one cabbage will make more salad than what you will be able to eat even if you skip eating everything else. This recipe is something to keep in mind for a potluck or when for a large crowd at a BBQ. You should prepare it ahead of time, it needs to sit a while.
1 cabbage head
shallots (I like them for salads, because they are so much softer in taste than onions)
1 cup (or more) of white wine or white balsamic vinegar
¼ cup oil
¼ cup of soda water
1 tablespoon sugar
salt and pepper (and red pepper powder) to taste
Wash the cabbage head on the outside and cut it in half.
Then proceed to cut very thin slices out of the cabbage, preferably with a potato peeler.
Place all of the cabbage slices into a large colander and wash thoroughly. Place into a large bowl or pot.
Peel shallots and slice onto the sliced cabbage. Mix all of the other ingredients into a middle-sized bowl and add to the sliced cabbage, then knead the cabbage with your hand, massaging the vinaigrette into the salad for a few minutes. Press the salad into the bowl and even out on the top, then cover with a towel and let sit for a few hours or overnight.
You can already eat the Krautsalat shortly after you have made it, but it will be much better the longer it sits (I usually move the coleslaw into a sealed container and into fridge after a full day).
PS: You also add sliced carrots or whole (pitted) olives, if you like. I’m a purist, so I don’t, but if you eat this salad at a Greek restaurant, you’ll often get this salad with a cream sauce and both slices carrots and black olives. It makes a pretty colour combination, too.