Saturday, June 13, 2009

Iranian American Slaw

Days and days of eating greens has cast a spell onto our household. An unusual air has seeped in through our window, like a biblical fog and brought a metamorphosis upon our spirits. We have experienced all sorts of unusual side effects, some better left unsaid. One in particular I shall talk about as it pertains to this salad. Yesterday we found that we were both hungry, starving, for a long forgotten food. Hamburgers.
We set out on our evening walk, with the heightened senses of hunters. Every step strengthening the pump of fresh blood to our extremities, fueling our quest. We almost made it to our destination, but, overcome with faintness and the mingling smells of restaurant barbecue, we stopped at an earlier location.
They only had one burger on the menu. Years of french fry indulgent experiences, which nearly always lead to french fry remorse, have taught me to avoid eating french fries whenever possible. So when the waiter asked me what I would like to go with my burger, I ordered coleslaw. There must have been a time when restaurant chefs paid attention to coleslaw. It seems now that ordering coleslaw is more of a social ritual. That chefs, having seen the dishwashers scraping bowl after bowl of unwanted drippy shreds sent back sliding around on greasy burger plates, merely assume that everyone is in agreement. Coleslaw is a social formality. It is a "stand in" for the empty spot that would be left on your plate if you simply ordered what you really wanted, which is french fries. Clearly the restaurant did not expect that we would actually be tasting their coleslaw. It was obvious that none of them bothered to taste it. Christina described it as having the flavor of the old fruit in the walk in. The old fruit probably carried the hovering stench of onions from the cutting board where they lay to be shaped into geometric shapes before they were dished into their poorly wrapped fruit bowls. The customer who orders the fruit has already decided to have a meal which satisfies their intellect over their senses. Their intelligence drove their eyes over to the "healthy options" section of the menu. Eating with their minds, they are ill prepared to notice the flavor of onions on their fruit, the mere idea of eating something healthy has already satisfied their appetite.
Our helplessly rejected coleslaw, clinging to to the sides of the little dish, was to make the long journey back to the kitchen balanced by the thumbs of our waiter. Once handed off to the teenage dishwasher it would be scooped into the giant dripping vat of coleslaw that the industry calls a garbage can.
Today I decided to see if I could make a coleslaw worthy of ordering in a restaurant. I call it the Iranian American Slaw because coleslaw is somewhat of an American picnic symbol and I used two prominent flavors found in Persian cuisine. One is raw onion. Iranians often order a plate of raw onion with their food. The other is the lovely and decadent herb dill.

The dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp salad vinegar
1 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 shallot or 1/2 red onion diced (I think white onion would be better actually, but I used shallot)
1/2 cup fresh chopped dill (you can use dried dill, just sprinkle it in to taste)
1/4 tsp salt
liberal amounts of black pepper

4 medium sized kohlrabi, peeled
4 large sweet carrots, peeled
Either plan to get a good workout with your shredder, or use the shredder attachment in your Cuisinart to make the kohlrabi and carrot slaw
1 bundle of green onions, diced
mix together

Christina's vote: "A state fair winner"


  1. this salad is also quite timely bc of the Iranian election yesterday and election results today...

    i have a sunday night dinner tradition and one friend pushes for what ever will be on the next week's menu by whether or not it goes with coleslaw. so now we seem to have coleslaw with everything...i'll pass on this recipe and your story to her, she'll love it!

  2. you guys go on a walk every evening?