They always say living in the summertime is easy. Same goes for recipe development. Summer recipes tend to fall into two buckets: simply prepared fresh produce and backyard classics. So what makes recipe writing easy? Because if you pick any two things from within the same bucket, chances are the flavors and the spirit are going to go well together.
Case in point: cole slaw and hot dogs.
We were in the midst of our hot dog bun face-off last week in which we served a side of hot dog bites to act as accompaniment to the buns.
Meanwhile, fresh off the heels of a couple weeks of testing cole slaw, there were several quarts of the stuff left in the refrigerator and placed on the staff table every day for folks to help themselves.
During the taste test, Ben casually mentioned that slaw dogs were his favorite way to eat hot dogs. Your wish is my command, Ben. Fresh dogs were griddled, slaw was piled on top, and lunch was had.
I gotta admit, I'd never been much of a slaw dog eater in the past. I dabbled in slaw-doggery in my early years when I ordered one for the first and last time at the Papaya King on Third Avenue, blowing my precious after-school snack money on a great dog topped with limp cabbage and soupy mayonnaise. I knew I should have stuck with sauerkraut. With that one scarring experience, I hadn't ventured back into the realm.
But thank you Ben, for turning me back onto slaw dogs. It turns out that with the right proportions and a crunchy slaw, a slaw dog can be every bit as satisfying as a kraut'ed up version. The slaw, with its slightly sweet, punchy tang goes really well with the salty snap of a good dog—even more so if you add a touch of mustard between the two. Meanwhile, when your slaw is nice and tight with just enough mayo to hold it together, it adds an extra layer of richness to the whole deal.
There's not too much to the recipe other than cooking dogs like you normally do, adding a touch of mustard (if you'd like), and topping it all off with Creamy Cole Slaw, but go ahead and peep a look at the recipe if you'd like.
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.