One of the wonderful things about summer is the abundance of fresh herbs. Those hardy, persistent plants are a delight to the senses, easily (and often independently) adding fragrance and color to even the skimpiest garden. Many varieties, like chives, rosemary and lavender, provide beautiful edible flowers that can be added to salads or used as a pretty garnish.
Even the woody sections of rosemary and lavender are useful as skewers for shish kebabs and sage, in all its velvet leaved varieties, added to other herb sprigs from the garden makes a beautiful edible kitchen bouquet. While basil is slow to start around here this year, the chives continue to produce, my culinary lavender is in full bloom and the oregano is nearly unstoppable, spreading all along my garden path.
There are a number of ways I enjoy using the abundance of herbs my garden produces. I can make Lavender Wands to preserve the fragrance of the lavender stems that I don't put aside for cooking. Sage leaves make pretty herbal wreaths that can be trimmed from through the winter as needed. When the basil grows tall I will grind it with parsley to make Walnut Pesto that can be frozen for year round use.
Other herbs are nice to dry in small quantities but I find that my use for them over the winter is limited. This week as I trimmed oregano and mint back from the stone path I found myself breathing deeply of the fragrance but discarding large quantities I wish I had better uses for.
For that reason and more I was glad to find this salad recipe in the latest issue of Sunset. It makes a pretty Cole Slaw that includes ½ cup of oregano leaves and offers a twist by dressing it with a warm vinaigrette featuring bacon, similar to that used for Hot German Potato Salad.
As my family, like so many, are huge bacon fans, this salad was a definite hit. It will no doubt be served at many gatherings this summer. Whether you believe that the danger of mayonnaise based salads at a picnic is a myth or not, this Warm Bacon Cole Slaw is so good you’ll wonder why you’d want to bother with the mayo anyway.
Warm Bacon and Herb Cole Slaw
from the July 2011 issue of Sunset magazine
1 head cabbage (about 1½ lbs), cored and thinly sliced