Are you dreaming of a July 4th barbecue feast? If you are, I have a few ideas for you. Creamy coleslaw is some of the best picnic fare around, but a vinegary slaw can be a tart change of pace, improve while sitting on a buffet, and even add a bit of polish to a plate full of picnic food. (Aside: Is there anything better than a plate full of picnic food? Gah!) Before I sing the salty praises of capers and anchovies, I want to point out my friend Shaina Olmanson’s sweet-and-sour Carolina-style vinegar coleslaw recipe on her delicious blog Food for my Family. Her husband Ole is a grill master—truly—so when she suggests the perfect slaw for July 4th barbecued pork, we all should listen. I make her coleslaw all the time and keep a jar of the dressing in my fridge—it’s fantastic on every salad.
So OK, back to capers and anchovies. I made this coleslaw for a lamb chop feast a few weeks back and it was a hit with everyone at the table. Capers with lamb is totally my jam, as are kalamata olives, oregano, and spring onions. If you want to sear a few chops on the stovetop for a quick weeknight meal, check out this delectable recipe and step-by-step video I shot with chef Peter Ireland . He has great tips for achieving the perfect crusty-pink chop.
Or if you’re thinking of grilling a succulent leg of lamb for your barbecue, well I wouldn’t blame you one bit and in fact, I’d happily show up with this salad!
Coleslaw with Caper-Anchovy Dressing
1 small (or 1/2 large) head red cabbage (or use a mix of green and red), cored and sliced thinly with a sharp knife or mandoline
1/2 cup chopped spring onions (or scallions)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 fat clove garlic, minced or crushed
2 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives
2 tablespoons minced anchovies or anchovy paste
freshly ground black pepper
Optional garnish: 1/2 cup (or more) of crispy, crumbled bacon
Place cabbage in a colander and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Toss to coat and let sit, over a bowl or in the sink, for an hour. Spread the cabbage (it will be damp from the salt drawing liquid from it) on several paper towels. Gently blot with more paper towels, then roll the cabbage in paper towels and set in the refrigerator to chill for up to 24 hours.
Up to one hour before serving, put the cabbage in a large bowl. Add the spring onions (and bacon if using) and toss to combine.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, oregano, garlic, capers, olives, and anchovy paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Dress cabbage (you won’t use all the dressing; cover and chill what remains for another salad), tossing to coat thoroughly. Season salad with salt and pepper.