Alice Waters' Coleslaw

Welcome to one of Kitchen Parade's most popular recipes, a favorite recipe among Weight Watchers (zero points) and taste watchers (for bright flavor). No mayonnaise.

Who’s the most influential chef in America? Emeril might come to mind, given the number of BAM! slots he holds on the Food Network. Julia Child, perhaps?

It’s Alice Waters, dubbed by some the ‘mother of modern American cooking’. Unlike many of today’s food celebrities, she operates but one restaurant where reservations are notoriously difficult to score. She has published only a handful of cookbooks but there are no TV shows, no product lines.

Alice Waters has changed American cooking by returning the farmer to the culinary food chain. She insists on locally grown, seasonal ingredients and preaches sustainable agriculture. She celebrates the experience of discovering a new tomato, a tiny eggplant, at the farmers market.

Alice Waters is the cook who reminds me to slow down, every once in awhile, to examine and appreciate a dish’s ingredients. You can too, with her simple coleslaw. Does the olive oil taste like fruit? nuts? Open your lungs to the limes’ zest and juice; how are they different? What does salt really taste like? And when your eyes are closed, does sea salt evoke lapping waves like a seashell held to the ear? Examine the tight veins of the cabbage, the perfectly formed seeds of the jalapeño, the coils of the onion. Taste the chopped cilantro, leaves first, then the stems. Mix the salad ingredients with your hands, feeling the coolness between your fingers and up to your wrists. Now consider your hands – how do they feel? look? smell?

Appreciate food for its origins and attributes and suddenly, life will slow, if but for a moment.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food writer Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.

ALICE WATERS’ COLESLAW

Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 2 hours
Makes 12 cups
    DRESSING
  • Zest and juice (about 4 tablespoons) from 2 fresh limes
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (or more to taste)
  • Large pinch of sugar (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
    VEGETABLES
  • 3-pound green cabbage, outer leaves and core removed
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped cilantro, stems and leaves

DRESSING Whisk together lime zest and juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar and olive oil in a container. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.

VEGETABLES Cut large chunks from cabbage and chop finely with a sharp knife. Place in a large container. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings again. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or more, stirring occasionally to distribute dressing.

ALANNA's TIPS Chopping the cabbage by hand takes about an extra five minutes. Use packaged chopped cabbage if you must, at the sacrifice of texture and freshness. After chopping the jalapeño, wash your hands thoroughly without first touching your eyes, mouth or face.
NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per half cup: 36 Calories; 2g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 4g Carb; 4g Fiber; 14mg Sodium; 0mg Cholesterol; 1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 0, PointsPlus 1

LATER NOTES
Good news: the olive oil can be omitted entirely, if you like, without change in flavor. The oil does slightly bind the salad together but truly, I don't think many will notice its omission.
Orange vs lime: to complement the flavor in some ribs I was cooking to serve with this coleslaw, I substituted orange for the lime. But the orange doesn't by itself add quite enough brightness, so I ended up using both. Perfect!

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This is a delicious cole slaw! Yum!

6/03/2006
 
Thank you! I was looking for something to go with chili and cornbread, and I didn't want a plain old cole slaw. This looks divine. I love the combination of jalapenos with a pinch of sugar. Sweet and heat. And crunchy. Yum, yum, yum.
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna