coleslaw 1

Hello friends, hello!  Joel and I have been off taking a few days just to ourselves to unplug, reconnect, and actually relax – like for real!  No work!  Unlike our other sort-of vacations this summer!  Gotta respect the babymoon, you know.  It felt fantastic.  We agreed that we made it at least the whole way through decompression phase one.  Not sure how many phases there are total – maybe around seven or eight – but at least we made it through one.

We made the decision to go for a vacation a little at the last minute, so truly exotic destinations were out (I’m not exactly allowed on a plane or anything at this stage either.  I’m probably not actually allowed more than an hour or two from our house!).  Instead we made the little jaunt to Bayfield, Wisconsin, the pretty little town on the South Shore of Lake Superior and the jumping off point to the Apostle Islands.

madeline island marina

madeline isalnd ferry

The South Shore of The Lake is an entirely different beast from the North Shore.  The North Shore is all austere and wild, craggy rocks, weather-beaten trees, frigid waters.  The South Shore is much softer, rolling fields perfect for orchards and berry farms, long sand beaches and rosy sandstone, warmer (though still bracing) water.

It’s an amazing area for kayaking (there are sea caves carved from the sandstone!), sailing, and hiking.  Those activities aren’t really within my range of motion at the moment though (the idea of my belly in a spray skirt is quite hilarious), so we got to do lower key things that we probably wouldn’t do otherwise on vacation.  Like take a glass-bottomed boat cruise to look at old shipwrecks!  And just sit in the marina drinking coffee while watching the sailboats zip to and fro.  And drive over to a little dairy where you can walk into their self-service fridge/freezer to take an ice cream sandwich for which you pay on the honor system.  And pick the very last of the season’s blueberries.

liten verksted car

I think we also subsisted primarily on a diet of ice cream, decaf lattes (well, decaf for me), and ribs.  Totally vacation.

We didn’t do any grilling on Labor Day since we were away, and summer is supposedly winding down now that that holiday is over, yet here I am with a recipe for coleslaw for you.  Perhaps not the best timing, but the thing is, this is the coleslaw I’ve been making and eating all summer.  I feel like it would be completely unfair and rather low of me not to share it with you before it’s any more too late than it already is!  Luckily, a dear old friend rolled into town yesterday and came over for dinner with a few other friends.  We grilled hamburgers and it was the perfect excuse to make coleslaw.

red cliffs bayfield

apostle islands lighthouse

I’m not a coleslaw snob.  I like creamy coleslaws and tangy, vinegary coleslaws.  I like Asian-inspired slaws and I often even like the gloppy coleslaws you get at a burger joint.  This one, though, is my current – and maybe even all time – favorite.  I first made it for Joel’s birthday this summer, and I haven’t looked back.  It’s the only coleslaw recipe I’ve made since all summer.  And I’ve made a lot of coleslaw.

It’s no surprise that the recipe is excellent, given that it comes from Suzanne Goin.  It’s a very simple, rather traditional coleslaw.  There’s truly nothing in the ingredients list that you wouldn’t expect.  However, there are a few little tweaks to technique that make all the difference.  She asks you to care just enough to reduce your vinegar, to let the cabbage sit with it for a while before adding mayonnaise, to save the chopped fresh herbs until the end.  These tiny details give you a coleslaw that isn’t revolutionary – it tastes just like, well, coleslaw – but it’s coleslaw that’s a step – maybe even a few steps – better than what you expected.  And this summer, it’s exactly what I’ve wanted.

coleslaw 2

My favorite coleslaw
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • ½ small head red cabbage (about 1 lb.), cored and thinly sliced
  • ½ small head green cabbage (about 1 lb.), cored and thinly sliced
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely grated
  • ½ cup good quality mayonnaise (homemade if you can)
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbs. minced chives
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a small pot bring the vinegar to a boil, turn the heat down to medium and let it reduce by half. Remove from the heat and allow to cool 5 minutes, then stir in the honey until dissolved.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sliced cabbages, onion, and carrot then pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss again, then allow to sit for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  3. After 15 minutes add the mayonnaise, cayenne, and herbs and toss well to mix everything together. Taste and add more salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve immediately. The coleslaw will also keep in the fridge for a couple days, though it will start to get a bit wilty. Toss it again before serving to make sure the dressing is well combined.
From Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin


6 Responses to My favorite coleslaw

  1. Lisa Mitchell says:

    Looks like a great slaw! My pregnant days were 25 years ago – but I also went on a slaw kick that summer, and anything else with cabbage or broc. or cauliflower – anything in that group of veggies. It was a weird craving – but my son is now an avid fan of all that and more – kale, b.sprouts, chard – you name it, he loves it! You could do worse! (a pan of roasted sprouts dressed with bacon and balsamic is almost dessert) 😉

  2. Sarah says:

    I’ve been to Bayfield before and I love it! It is such a cute town. That coleslaw looks wonderful!

  3. Carly says:

    I’m super intrigued about reducing the vinegar, I wonder if that makes the flavor much more intense? Anyways here in Germany cabbage is normally reserved for sauerkraut but this recipe is reminiscent of the California summer BBQs I grew up with- will definitely try!

  4. Melissa says:

    Can’t wait to try this! Oh, and Bayfield is practically in my backyard and one of my favorite places.

  5. Kathryne says:

    I have recently become a coleslaw convert and can’t get enough of the stuff. Your favorite version looks perfect! Congrats on your little one, too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: