PUBLISHED: 10:46 03 December 2013 | UPDATED: 10:46 03 December 2013
Zshoosh up Christmas leftovers - including cold meats and scrap ends of cheeses - by making and then serving them with a sassy winter slaw
By the time you’re a week into the holidays, the fridge is starting to look more like an after-thought than the training ground for a militarily-planned execution of festive fine dining. There’s a couple of wonky carrots in corner of the bottom drawer, half a cabbage, less than half a red pepper and a forgotten bag of shallots.
The top shelf is still piled with the leftover cuts of your Christmas turkey, ham and charcuterie and there’s still enough good cheese to make and serve a modern take on the good old fashioned Devon ploughmans served with a side of slaw.
Note the word slaw – not coleslaw (which sounds far too similar to cold sore).
Slaws are easy, delicious and the perfect solution to a fridge full of odds and ends and a house full of still-hungry folk. They can be made a day or two before you want to serve them and in fact the flavour is always better if you do this and you can be as inventive with the dressings as you think you can get away with.
And once you get into the habit of thinking ‘slaw’ when you are throwing together a simple lunch or supper dish, you will soon discover just how many of those almost ditched vegetables you can revive, how good they will taste and how healthy you will feel knowing a good slaw can go a long way towards your five-a-day.
Top Tips for Seasonal Slaws
1. Make ahead and refrigerate
2. Slice your cabbage as superfine as you can, or use a processor
3. Apples will add a welcome crunch and (if you leave the peel on) colour to the dish but dice and add just before you serve to avoid discolouration
4. Slaw-making is an intuitive art, not a science. You won’t be weighing or measuring, just chop and chuck in
5. Make a basic slaw and then ring the changes with different styles of dressing
Fine slice your cabbage seperately and then grate whatever veg you have to hand; swede, turnip, parsnip, broccoli stalks, raddish, carrots etc. If you have beetroot, chunk by hand, but be careful with colour leaks.
Slice and dice the fruits you want to add; apples, pineapple, dried apricot, dates etc.
Toasted nuts and seeds
Freshly chopped green herbs
Finely diced red onion or shallots
2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and coarse black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons of local honey or health-store bought agave syrup (light)
Drizzle of rapeseed oil if you have it, if not use olive oil
You may make a creamy, more luxurious dressing by adding yoghurt, mayonnaise or creme fraiche to this basic slaw vinaigrette.
Toss everything together in a large bowl with a basic dressing.
Christmas Cranberry Dressing
1 cup frozen or fresh cranberries
Half a large orange, chopped coarsely and including the peel
1 tablespoon of chopped shallot
Quarter teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of sugar or health-store bought agave syrup
2 teaspoons of cider vinegar
Quarter cup of rapeseed oil (again, use olive oil if you don’t have rapeseed)
Pulse the cranberries, orange pieces, shallot and salt in the food processor. Add the sugar (or syrup) and vinegar and then pulse again, adding the olive oil one tablespoon at a time.
This will make quite a thick dressing that you can keep in the fridge, covered, for a month. If you prefer a runnier one for your slaw, add a little more (proportionally) of the cider vinegar and olive oil.