Published July 1, 1995.
To avoid watery slaw, salt and drain the cabbage before mixing.
Despite its simplicity, two things have always bothered us about coleslaw: the pool of watery dressing at the bottom of the bowl after a few hours, and the salad's sharpness, regardless of the kind or quality of vinegar used. It always seems to taste better when tried again the next day, but by then the dressing is the consistency of milk.
We wanted to find a method to make coleslaw that would keep the cabbage from watering down the dressing and to make the salad piquant without tasting too sharp.
Salting cabbage causes it to lose most of its liquid, leaving the cabbage pickle-crisp. We found that salted cabbage also takes on more of the dressing's flavors. The salting process does leave the cabbage a bit too salty, but a quick rinse washes away the excess salt. After rinsing, it can be patted dry with paper towels and refrigerated until ready to dress. After a number of failed experiments with dressings, we decided to give low-acidity rice vinegar a try. We drizzled a bit over the mayonnaise-tossed cabbage and found its mild acidity perfect for coleslaw.list of recipes