SLAW MIXING PRINCIPLES
Have all your ingredients COLD. Cold cabbage, cold mayo or sauce ingredients, cold stainless bowl to work & stir/fold in, etc. Shread the cold cabbage & store in fridge while prepping dressing in cold bowl, etc. Shredding can be done the day before. Drain before adding the dressing.
By draining and chilling, you will be rewarded with very crisp cole slaw that, if kept cold, will stay crisp for the entire meal.
BUYING AND PREPPING CABBAGE FOR COLE SLAW
Allow at least 1 pound of cabbage for each 5 persons, or 20 pounds to make 3-4 gallons for 100 people.
Select very fresh, very firm head of cabbage with tightly packed leaves. You can tell a head that is tightly packed because it will feel heavier for its size than a loosely packed counterpart. Compare heads in the produce department to pick the best.
Smaller heads of cabbage (about 1 pound) have a milder flavor. Larger heads, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, are easirer to prepare.
Peel the loose outer leaves from the cabbage until you get to the lighter, tighter, moister ones. Cut the cabbage in half and cut hand-sized chunks from it, setting aside the thick, solid core to make steamed hearts of cabbage as a dinner vegetable right soon.
These choice heads should be shredded coarse enough that the water stays in the cabbage. Use a sharp stainless steel knife or coarse grater. Then when chilled, it has a bit of crunch. Shredded too fine, it releases all its water and becomes limp and soupy, let's not even discuss the errors of grinding... Plan ahead: cole slaw tastes best if it is chilled for at least a couple of hours to allow the flavors to combine after it is mixed.
For the best result, place the huge mound of shredded cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle it generously with salt (about 1 tablespoon). Then cover it with boiling water. Let it stand for 1 hour. The cabbage will not be cooked, but it will be softened, and its natural flavor will be enhanced. Drain the cabbage very well and proceed with the recipe of choice.
You want a mild, light vinegar, 4% strength. Use white vinegar, cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar. If you have 5 1/2 percent, add 1 cup of water to 1 quart of vinegar to reduce the strength, then measure for the recipe. Save the balsamics and other flavored vinegars for another recipe.