Saturday, July 20, 2013

Asian Slaw ~ The Perfect Summer Salad

Today I'm serving up dinner for eight and I want to serve it outdoors.  It's likely to be hot and I want foods that will hold up to the heat and not feel heavy to my guests.  While coleslaw is somewhat traditional in the summer, I find the creamy slaw dressing too rich and not one that I want to expose to outdoor temperatures for very long.  So I went looking through my recipes for a slaw dressing that was more of a vinegar based dressing.  I came upon not only this great dressing but a better mix of ingredients that made my idea for plain old slaw seem outdated and uninteresting.

Asian Slaw ~ Perfect for a Picnic
I got the recipe below from Jennifer at Once Upon a Chef.  I've made a few modifications and you can do so as well.  This recipe easily makes 8-12 large and healthy servings.

Ingredients

Sliced and Ready for the Refrigerator
For the Dressing
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (Thai hot sauce preferred and optional)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove, minced

For the Slaw
14 ounces classic coleslaw (about 3 cups) prepared and shredded
10 ounces (about 2 cups) prepared shredded carrots
1/2 small head purple cabbage (about 1 1/2 cups) thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 cup cooked and shelled edamame (soy beans)
2 medium scallions, finely sliced
1/2 cup salted peanuts
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro

Red Cabbage
If you haven't used red cabbage before, here are a couple notes on preparation.  Simply remove outer damage or limp leaves.  Cut the head in half horizontally through the middle of the core.  Cut out the white core (shore above).  You can slice in a food processor, but it seems hardly worth dirtying the device.  To do this manually, turn the cabbage flat (cut) side down on your cutting board.  Slice it again in half, this time from top to bottom.  Slice into thin slices with a sharp knife.

Instructions
Make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir until the peanut butter is dissolved. Set aside in a lidded container. Refrigerate until ready for use.

I like to prepare as much of this as possible in advance.  You can purchase the prepared coleslaw and carrots shredded and ready for use at most grocery stores.  This will save you time, especially if you do not have a food processor.  The morning of your event, place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerator until one hour before serving.

Gently stir to combine all of the slaw ingredients. Shake the slaw dressing or stir well to combine.  Add the dressing and toss until fully coated. Let sit at least 30-45 minutes so vegetables will soak up the flavors from the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary and serve.

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