A Red Cabbage and Tarragon Slaw with Artichokes + Croutons

I can remember being in junior school and making coleslaw in a home economics lesson. I can't recall anything else we ever made. I used to love creamy coleslaw as a child; I remember buying tubs of it by weight at the supermarket deli counter and vinaigrette coleslaw too. They were the two options back in then. Whatever happened to the tangy vinaigrette variety? I've not seen it in years. 

I still love a good slaw, though when making it myself I like to go a step or two further than the traditional, white cabbage, onion and carrot combo. This version came about purely by an impulse purchase of a red cabbage and what I had in the fridge that needed to be put to good use. 

I like using red cabbage in the colder months for a slaw and adding some herbs for freshness and  interest: in this instance I used some tarragon for its warm aniseed flavour. The quantities given below will produce a bounty of slaw to keep you going through the week, with enough spare to give a few tubs away to your nearest and dearest. If you want a smaller amount just half or adjust the recipe to suit.

Red Cabbage and Tarragon Slaw with Artichokes + Croutons

½ red cabbage

1 red onion

200g brussel sprouts

4 medium carrots

30g fresh tarragon

50g pumpkin seeds

100g creme fraiche

5 tbsps good quality mayonnaise

2 tsp nigella seeds

juice of ½ a lemon

1½ tbsp cyder vinegar

285g jar of artichoke hearts in oil

1 ciabatta loaf

olive oil

dried basil

Preheat the oven to 200℃ / 180℃ fan ready for baking the croutons.

Thinly slice the cabbage, onion and sprouts and grate the carrots on the coarse side of a grater. Add the shredded vegetables to a large mixing bowl. Finely chop the tarragon adding all but a small handful to the bowl. Next add the pumpkin seeds and give it a quick mix.

Now add the creme fraiche, mayonnaise, nigella seeds, lemon juice and vinegar. Give it all a good stir and taste for seasoning adding salt and black pepper to your taste. Set to one side. 

To make the croutons slice the ciabatta loaf into cubes that are approx 1" square. Place these in a single layer on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle over your reserved tarragon and a shake or two of dried basil. Toss the cubes of bread to ensure all sides are coated in the oil and herb mixture. Place in the oven and bake for approx 10 mins, shaking them gently half way through the cooking to ensure they are golden on all sides.  Remove from the oven and set to one side.

While the croutons are baking fry the artichokes in a small frying pan using a little of the oil from the jar. Once they are golden and slightly crispy remove them onto some kitchen paper.

Serve the slaw topped with the artichokes and croutons. Enjoy.