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Soaking in salt can improve classic dishes

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    Creamy buttermilk coleslaw. A little soaking in salt improves this classic dish.

A little soaking in salt improves both these classics in opposite ways, in one case removing excess water, in the other adding moisture.

We wanted a buttermilk coleslaw with crisp pieces of cabbage lightly coated with a flavorful buttermilk dressing that would cling to the cabbage instead of collecting in the bottom of the bowl.

We found that salting and draining the cabbage removed excess water and wilted it to a pickle-crisp texture. For a dressing that was both hefty and tangy, we combined buttermilk, mayonnaise and sour cream.

CREAMY BUTTERMILK COLESLAW

By America’s Test Kitchen

  • 1/2 head red or green cabbage, cored and sliced thin (6 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded

>> Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Toss shredded cabbage and salt in a colander or strainer set over a bowl. Let stand until cabbage wilts, at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. Rinse cabbage. Press, but do not squeeze, to drain; pat dry with paper towels. Place cabbage and carrot in serving bowl.

Combine dressing ingredients in small bowl. Pour over cabbage; toss to combine.

Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. (Will keep up to 3 days.) Serves 4.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 115 calories, 7 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 8 mg cholesterol, 408 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 36 g protein.

FOR CORN with a distinctly grilled taste and lightly charred kernels, we grilled the corn unhusked, but this created a problem with texture.

The grill imparted great flavor, but also made the kernels tough and dry. To avoid this, we soaked the husked corn in salted water first, which kept the kernels moist and seasoned them as well.

If your corn isn’t as sweet as you’d like, stir 1/2 cup of sugar into the water along with the salt.

GRILLED CORN ON THE COB

By America’s Test Kitchen

  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 4 quarts cold water
  • 8 ears corn, husks and silks removed
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In large pot, dissolve salt in water. Add corn and let soak at least 30 minutes but no more than 8 hours or it will be too salty.

>> For a charcoal grill: Open bottom vent completely and light briquettes (6 quarts) in chimney starter. When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Place grate, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.

>> For a gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover and heat until hot, about 15 minutes.

Clean and oil grate. Grill corn, turning every 2 to 3 minutes, until kernels are lightly charred all over, 10 to 14 minutes. Remove from grill; brush with butter, and season with salt and pepper. Serves 4-6.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 222 calories, 12 g total fat, 7 g saturated fat, 27 mg cholesterol, 199 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 11 g sugar, 5 g protein

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