Good-old American coleslaw hails from … (wait for it!) … Holland. “Koolsla” in Dutch is pronounced exactly like coleslaw (double “o” in Dutch sounds like the long O in “rose”). Koolsla is the shortened form of “koolsalade” -- cabbage salad.
I make coleslaw the New York German deli way, with little mayonnaise, but tangy sweet and sour.
The recipe serves six as a side dish, with easily stored left-overs.
1 medium head of green (or red) cabbage or 3/4 of a medium-large head
1 medium-large carrot
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (“real” preferred)
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
6 tablespoons white vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Discard any tough outer cabbage leaves. Cut off cabbage’s bottom inch. Cut the head in half through the stem and cut it again into quarters. Set a quarter on a board and cut away the core and any big ribs on the exterior.
Shred cabbage finely crosswise, either with a sharp knife on a cutting board, with a mandolin slicer, or in a food processor fitted with a 2-millimeter slicer blade. As you shred it, place cabbage in a very large bowl for mixing.
Peel carrot and shred it, using the coarse side of a grater or the food processor fitted with a grater blade. Add it to the cabbage.
Add mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Mix well. It will be dry at first. Let it sit 15 or 20 minutes, mixing from time to time, until the cabbage softens and the juices increase. Taste and adjust salt, vinegar or sugar as desired.
Coleslaw is best if allowed to chill for an hour or more, or even up to several days, covered. Mix well and taste before serving and adjust salt, vinegar or sugar if needed.