Classic PEI-style Coleslaw

Friends! I still owe you stories and recipes from my summer adventures in wintery Australia, I know. 


But today, I’m going to digress (again) and rewind back to my spring trip to Prince Edward Island, where I spent a month working on a photography project about lobster fishing and culinary practices. Last week, the results of our efforts – a website, a photo and recipe book and a behind-the-scenes eBook – went live, for the world to see. So today, in celebration of the occasion, and because it’s tasty, I want to share with you a recipe from the project.    


So, coleslaw. Not the most celebratory of dishes. But let me say: this isn’t the sad, soggy, face-puckeringly sour coleslaws of barbecues gone by. This is coleslaw, refined, straight from Prince Edward Island itself. The veggies – just cabbage and carrots – are chopped rather than grated to keep the texture interesting and the salad visually appealing. And the simple dressing is bold but balanced: the vinegar, honey, sea salt and oil all add something substantial to the mix without overwhelming the other flavours.  


Though coleslaw tends to be reserved for the summer months, it makes more sense to me to eat it now, when warm-weather veggies like peppers and zucchinis are disappearing and cabbage and carrots abound. And hey, being able to lean on a salad whose sweet-and-sour-and-salty crispness draws out happy memories of sunshine and patios may make the transition to the chillier months ahead a bit easier. So coleslaw it up in the cold, my friends, and think fondly of warmer times.

summer-trio.jpgOr head over to our project site, Lobster Island, and celebrate the season with roasted potatoes, chowder and warm blueberry pie. Whatever floats your (lobster) boat. 

Madly-delicious Coleslaw
Adapted from my Aunt Lynda’s madly-delicious recipe
Serves 4-6 as a side dish

For the salad
1/2 a large head of green cabbage
2 large carrots, peeled

For the dressing
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 tsp + 1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil (or other neutral oil)
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp celery seeds
1/8 tsp ground pepper

Slice your cabbage into thin, bite-sized strips. Grate the carrots or cut them into 2-inch matchsticks. You should have about 5 packed cups of sliced cabbage and 3/4 cup of carrots. If you’ve got a little more or less, adjust as necessary. Combine the cabbage and carrots in a large bowl.

Combine all of your dressing ingredients into a small saucepan and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes. Once the five minutes are up, remove the saucepan from the heat and let the dressing cool until it’s no longer hot to the touch.

Pour the dressing over the cabbage and carrots and toss until the veggies are evenly coated. Let the salad sit in the fridge for at least one hour before you serve, to allow the flavours to develop. 

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