Hot dogs with crispy, perhaps even slightly charred, skin. The rich aroma of juicy burgers cooking on the grill. The sizzle of sausages cooking. These are among the textures, smells and sounds of summer barbecues.
This past weekend, they were aplenty. As I walked down a road in Southwest Harbor, I caught the pleasant whiff of grills at work. In my mind, I matched the scents to imagined foods — hamburgers, hot dogs, clams and perhaps barbecue chicken?
And with these grilled foods — real or imagined — comes the other foods of summer. The veggies and fruits that ripen now, and are served alongside whatever’s coming off the grill.
Sweet corn, the silks and husk just removed, cooked to perfect tenderness. Sweet peas plucked from their shells. Cool cucumbers with thin skins, perfect for slicing. Sweet strawberries, red to the core, with juice to run down your chin.
And, of course, summer salads — potato salads, pasta and macaroni salads, and, of course, slaws.
A cabbage, the last few carrots, some peppery radishes, some fresh parsley … these are the things that come together to make this coleslaw. But this isn’t your typical cloyingly sweet coleslaw with the creamy white dressing. No. This is a slaw made with an olive oil and vinegar dressing, seasoned simply with honey, salt and pepper.
Start by preparing the vegetables. Remove the core from the cabbage — I used about half of a cabbage to shred for this slaw — and then shred it. I did so by cutting it into thin slices and then halving them. But a food processor would make quick work of it too.
Then the carrots are shredded. I used a hand grater (be careful of your fingertips if you do too!), to create big shreds to mix in. You could also use that food processor for this — or one of those electric salad grating tools, if you have one. I loved ours when I was in high school.
These days, I find I opt for the simplest method though: by hand. There’s less to cleanup, and it really doesn’t take that long.
Finally, chop the fresh parsley. It has a mild, but slightly bitter taste that’s a nice contrast to the dressing you make.
And about that dressing — you whisk together a tangy red wine vinegar, a warm extra virgin olive oil, a touch of sweet honey and some salt and pepper. It’s simple, but perfect for this oil and vinegar version of coleslaw.
Then, mix it all together, and it’s a flavorful slaw perfect for summer barbecues. Or let it chill for a bit, and the flavors get even better.
And summer is served.
- 4 cups shredded cabbage
- 1 cup shredded fresh carrots
- ¼ cup thinly sliced and halved radishes
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- Add the cabbage, carrots, radishes and parsley to a large mixing bowl. Stir well to combine.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. Pour over the vegetables and toss well to combine.
- Enjoy immediately, or chill until ready to serve.