In praise of Polish salad

I’d never heard of this slaw until a few years ago, when I happened upon it at Ocean State Job Lot. $2 for a quart-ish jar. They always have some brand or variety of it. Sometimes it’s called Family Salad, or Mixed Vegetable Salad. It’s shredded cabbage, carrot, onion, and sometimes red bell pepper, cucumber pickle, and/or charlock (I didn’t know, either. It’s a weed. also called wild mustard). The slaw is in a simple vinegar brine, the sweetness and saltiness differing from brand to brand.

Sauerkraut is too sour and salty for my taste unless it has been cooked to mellow it, but I adore the Polish slaw straight out of the jar as a cold side dish with pork or poultry . It’s good as is on hot dogs and cold cut sandwiches. I mix it with bottled creamy dill salad dressing and a bit of mayo, as a substitute for both coleslaw and tartar sauce. Or, I put this same mixture atop fish fillets before baking them. Sauteing caramelizes it, which makes a great chutney-like condiment with the addition of chopped dried fruit, or fig jam. I have no idea how it’s traditionally used.

I’ve never much cared for beets, but I really like the jarred shredded beet, cabbage, and apple slaw, another Polish item, on the same shelf at OSJL.
slaw that’s i9 the same aisle at OSJL.

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Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, Yuanyang County, Yunnan
Credit: inkelv1122, Flickr