I Dare You to Roast Leftover Coleslaw

I Dare You to Roast Leftover Coleslaw

“What are you working on?” my father asked me, genuinely curious. “I’m roasting KFC coleslaw,” I told him. My dad had just finished telling me he does “about six surgeries a day,” which is “not that many.” We all have our roles to play, and I have accepted that the work my parents do (saving the lives of animals) is more important than what I do (roasting coleslaw, apparently). But after tasting roasted coleslaw, I think what I do is pretty important too.

I know what you’re thinking: “That sounds gross.” But does it? Does it really? Does roasted cabbage sound gross? No. Is it the mayonnaise? Probably, but remember that mayo is mostly oil with a little vinegar, sugar, and egg, then calm down. All we’re doing here is roasting cabbage in a dressing, and it works.

It works with potato salad, and it works with slaw. I tried it with some leftover KFC slaw, and it was delicious. I started by placing the slaw in a strainer, pressing down to remove any watery nonsense, then transferred it to a roasting dish. You want a dish that’s large enough for the slaw to spread out in a half-inch layer, so the water released by the cabbage can evaporate unobstructed.

Roast in an oven set to 180°C until the cabbage darkens to your liking. I roasted mine for about an hour, until it got soft and sweet, and the little pieces of carrot and cabbage caramelised on the edges. It was shockingly comforting — with lots of deep, browned flavour — especially when you consider what it had been a mere 60 minutes before.

I wouldn’t do this to fresh slaw, but slaw is something that gets worse as it sits. Water leaches out, robbing the vegetables of their crispness and and diluting the dressing. But with a little straining and an hour in the oven, you can turn that watery mess into a warm, welcoming side dish, perfect for a cosy supper.

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