An old man’s slaw

An old man’s slaw

Mr Wilkinson's Simply Dressed Salads
Jacqui Melville

Generally we eat salads in the summer, but think of coleslaw: everything in it is seasonal and at its best in the colder months. I love this kind of slaw – raw, crunchy and so flavoursome. Make it up as you go along, just use this as a base ... I truly love this slaw in between two slices of buttered bread with some blue cheese.


Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 small wedge white cabbage, thinly sliced
1 small wedge red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 small celeriac, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
5 plump radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 apple, cut into matchsticks
4 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed
or 4 tablespoons caperberries, chopped
2 large handfuls mixed soft-leaf herbs, washed and chopped, such as flat-leaf parsley, dill, tarragon and chervil
good drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
good drizzle quality white vinegar
good sprinkling of salt flakes
1 small piece parmesan, finely grated
1 small red beetroot, peeled and grated, (or use a golden beetroot to avoid the colour bleeding, if you wish)


  1. Put the cumin seeds in a small frying pan and toast over a medium heat for a few minutes, tossing regularly, until they smell fragrant. Tip into a bowl.
  2. Now toast the fennel seeds in the pan for a few minutes, tossing regularly, until fragrant. Add to the cumin seeds and lightly crush to release the flavour.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, toss everything together except the beetroot. Make sure the seasoning is right, the acidity balance is right, and the salad is dressed enough. Give it a good toss. At the last minute, add the beetroot (this is to stop the coleslaw becoming pink). Place in a salad bowl and serve.
  4. I have had many a good version of this coleslaw, with things added and taken away, but it has always been raw – no mayo or cream near it. A simple raw slaw.
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