Coleslaw is serious business around the Cottage, and is a side-dish for almost every meal we prepare. Pesto with a side of coleslaw? Steak with a side of coleslaw? Pizza with a side of coleslaw? The possibilities are endless.
As a result of this, my father and I have spent several summers worth of testing all the vinegar-based1 coleslaw recipes we could find - and our favourite came from, of all places, about.com. It's not overly sweet, it goes (well) with everything you'd want to eat in the summer, and it can stand up to the strong barbecue flavours that come off the grill. It also ages well, which is handy for logistics.
Our coleslaw recipie, modified from about.com's Carolina Slaw:
1 large head of cabbage, finely shredded
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, grated
1 Jalapeno pepper, finely sliced
1 cup cider vinegar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. dry mustard powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
Combine all vegetables into a large bowl. Combine all dressing ingredients into a small pot, and simmer until everything except the celery seed has dissolved (about 10 minutes). Pour dressing onto vegetables and refrigerate for at least a day, stirring twice a day.
This is eminently edible after an hour or two in the fridge, but is at it's best after about two days.
If you're having surprise guests and need more, add some cabbage into what's left in the main bowl and stir it around some. You can also add in any similar fresh vegetables you have - I've had good results adding in half a head of thinly-sliced fennel. Lastly, if you'd like to take your shredding/chopping game up a notch, a mandoline makes quick work of all the vegetables here.
Mayonnaise-based coleslaw isn't something to even bring up here. ↩