Coleslaw with fennel

(Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff/file)
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July 2, 2008

Serves 8

If you're hosting or attending picnics or barbecues over the Fourth, balance the burgers, dogs, potato salad, and pie with a crisp, bright coleslaw made with fennel and cabbage. Fennel adds a slight anise taste to coleslaw, which comes from the Dutch word koolsla, meaning cabbage (kool) salad (sla), according to "The Oxford Companion to Food." Coleslaw can be infinitely varied, from soft savoy cabbage in a gingery vinaigrette to hard green cabbage with lime juice and cilantro for serving with tacos. In this version, cabbage and fennel are tossed with scallions, lemon juice, cider vinegar, and toasted anise seeds to accentuate the flavor. Wait until just before serving to add a dressing of strained Greek yogurt, a little sour cream, and dill. The results will please omnivores, along with those fretting about how their bathing suits will fit this weekend.

1small firm green cabbage
2bulbs fennel, stalks discarded, fronds set aside
1bunch scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal
Juice of 1 lemon
2tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1teaspoon anise seeds, toasted
1teaspoon sugar
1teaspoon salt
1/2cup plain strained Greek-style yogurt
1/4cup sour cream
1/4cup chopped fresh dill
Pepper, to taste
1. Remove any tough outer leaves from the cabbage. Quarter it and cut away the core. Slice the wedges thinly and transfer to a large bowl.

2. Halve the fennel bulbs lengthwise. Cut away the core. Slice the fennel thinly and add to the cabbage. Chop the fronds finely and add to the vegetables with the scallions. Toss well.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice, vinegar, anise seeds, sugar, and salt. Pour over the cabbage mixture and toss again. At this point, refrigerate the slaw, if you like, for 1 day.

4. With tongs, transfer the slaw to another bowl, leaving behind all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of liquid.

5. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sour cream, and dill. Add to the cabbage and toss to combine. Add pepper, taste for seasoning, and add more salt, if you like. Refrigerate for about 1 hour. Leigh Belanger

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