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Warm Bacon and Herb Cole Slaw

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
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, shredded
2 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
½ cup fresh oregano leaves
8 strips thick-cut bacon, diced
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon sugar
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, red onion, carrot, parsley and oregano.  Set aside.

In a small skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until brown and crispy.  With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon pieces to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain, reserving the bacon drippings in the skillet.

Cook the shallots in the bacon drippings until softened, about 2 minutes.

Add the Dijon mustard, sugar and vinegar to the shallots and stir.  Add the oil, salt and pepper and continue stirring until well combined.

Pour the warm dressing over the cabbage mixture.  Add half of the cooked bacon pieces and toss to combine, coating the vegetables evenly with the dressing.  

Sprinkle the slaw with the remaining bacon pieces.  Garnish with herb sprigs if desired.

Serve and enjoy!

Note - to make this salad ahead: refrigerate the dressing, vegetables and bacon separately up to 24 hours in advance.  Rewarm the dressing and toss with the vegetables just before serving. 


pam said...

This is wonderful, because I also have to cut big armfuls of oregano, and feel bad for not using it enough!

Mary Bergfeld said...

What a lovely coleslaw. It looks delicious and crisp and full of good things that I love. I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

MaryBeth said...

Anything with bacon must taste good...right, even veggies

grace said...

i'll be honest--this didn't really appeal to me as i read down the ingredient list, but the presence of bacon is a game-changer. :)