Barbecue season. I've lived in places where those two words are met with relief and celebration after living through month after frozen month of winter. I'd dig out my shorts and sandals and spend the first few sunny days of the season sitting on a lawn chair with my face turned toward the sun, eyes closed, and daydreaming about the beach trips and barbecue parties to come. Where I live now, on the southern end of Vancouver Island, barbecue season is more loosely defined. Grilling outdoors can be done all year round, and, although 'barbecue season' is a term used commonly by retailers to sell patio furniture and tiki torches in the warmer months, grilled chicken and steaks can end up on our dinner table any month of the year.
When it comes to a great meal, I love contrasts in flavour, temperature and texture. So, for me, one of the best companions for a tender piece of meat cooked on a hot grill is a cold and crunchy coleslaw. This recipe has plenty of garlic and cracked black pepper in the tangy vinaigrette. Then it gets some extra crunch from lightly toasted pine nuts and extra zip and colour from fresh mint leaves from the garden.
Here's how I made it:
makes 6-8 servings
1/2 cup raw pine nuts
2 lbs green cabbage, thinly sliced (about 14 cups)
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp liquid honey
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
about 30 fresh mint leaves
To toast the pine nuts, I warmed a small non-stick skillet over medium heat. The pine nuts were added to the skillet and tossed frequently for two minutes until lightly toasted, then transferred to a dinner plate to cool. The cabbage and carrot were combined in a large salad bowl. In a glass jar with a lid, I combined the oil, vinegar, garlic, pepper, and salt and shook well. I poured the vinaigrette over the cabbage and carrot and tossed to coat. The coleslaw was stored in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before meal time (it can even be made 2-3 days in advance). To serve, I tossed the mint leaves into the coleslaw and sprinkled each serving with the toasted pine nuts.
Bring on the grilling!
When is barbecue season where you live? Do you grill all year long? Leave a comment and tell me what your favourite barbecue season salad is.