Lamentably, I have a gluten intolerance. This means I cook from scratch most of the food I eat, and ask many questions about ingredients when eating food I haven’t prepared myself. Both of these habits made their way into Painting Celia. It’s never called out, but Celia also cooks gluten free!
In Chapter 1, Celia serves her friends a delicious homemade cabbage slaw, only to discover too late that León has a shellfish intolerance he hasn’t been taking seriously. While the slaw itself is a tangy, peppery complement to the rich slow-roasted beef ribs Celia also serves, the shrimp stock in the dressing does a number on poor León’s stomach.
Poor Celia is always looking for one more complex task to do, rather than spend her time thinking and worrying. No shortcuts for her! She’s recently made shrimp stock and decides to swap it into the slaw recipe in place of anchovy paste. She’s always searching for a unique recipe twist, but sometimes creativity comes with consequences.
If you’ve made cole slaw before, you might wonder why there’s seafood in this at all. In real life, my family enjoys a Caesar Salad-y take on cole slaw, acheived by adding that dab of salty, umami-packed anchovy paste. Give it try with the recipe below — but be sure to let everyone know about the ingredients!
Celia’s Caesar Cole Slaw
- 1 medium head of cabbage, shredded
— 1 large carrot, grated
— 1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced
— 1/8 cup sugar (reserve 1 teaspoon)
— 1/8 cup salt (reserve 1 teaspoon)
— 1/2 cup mayonnaise
— 1 teaspoon anchovy paste -or- 1 tablespoon shrimp stock
— 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
— 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
— Toss your cabbage and vegetables in a colander. Over the sink, sprinkle in your salt and sugar, reserving one teaspoon of each, and mix with your hands until everything is coated.
— Relax for 8–10 minutes while your veggies start releasing the water contained inside them. Then, start massaging them with your hands. Work them gently until they’ve softened up to a coleslaw-like texture.
— Rinse veggies with cold water, then dry on a paper towel or in a salad spinner. This massaging and drying stops your slaw from turning into a drippy mess when chilled.
— In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, anchovy paste or shrimp stock, apple cider vinegar, and black pepper. If the dressing feels too thin, add a little more mayonnaise.
— Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss until well combined.
— Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld together.
While Celia’s Caesar Cole Slaw didn’t go over well with León, I hope it will be a hit with you and your loved ones. Just remember to let everyone know what’s in it, and happy eating!