Hot Slaw, Mexican-Style

Hot Slaw, Mexican-Style

Put a couple of whole cabbages over a hot fire on a grill, and leave them there, turning every few minutes when you get a chance, until they look like something tragic and ruined. You don’t need to season them, or oil them, or remove the thick outer leaves the way you’d do if you were cooking them lightly or shredding them raw. You just need to burn them, slowly and deeply, so that they soften within and take on the flavor of fire. When you’ve got the cabbages good and blistered, put them on a cutting board, remove the charred exteriors and cut out the cores, then slice the remaining cabbage into shreds. Dress with crema, store-bought or home-made, along with chopped cilantro, some chipotle en adobo and lime juice. It makes for a slaw that goes with almost anything grilled.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 6 persons



  1. Step 1

    Make the crema the night before, or many nights before, the day you want to cook.
  2. Step 2

    When you are ready to make the slaw, build a fire in your grill, leaving about 1/3 of grill free of coals, or set one burner of a gas grill to high. When the fire is ready, place the cabbages, whole, onto the fire or over the open burner, and allow them to roast in the heat of the open flames, turning them every few minutes and allowing them to rest occasionally on the cooler side of the grill, until they are blackened, blistered and a little soft to the touch, approximately 30 to 45 minutes. You are not looking to incinerate them so much as to cook them aggressively. You will discard most of the burned exterior.
  3. Step 3

    Meanwhile, make the dressing. Whisk the cilantro into the crema in a bowl, and add the lime juice and, if you’re using, adobo or hot sauce to taste, along with a little salt and pepper.
  4. Step 4

    When the cabbages are blackened and have softened to the point where you can insert a knife into each one fairly easily, remove them to a cutting board. Once they have cooled slightly, take off most of the blackened exterior leaves. Cut each cabbage in half, then use your knife to remove the cores. Slice the cabbage into thin strips, as for a coleslaw, and add them to a large serving bowl.
  5. Step 5

    Apply about 1/2 a cup of the crema to the sliced cabbage, and toss to combine. Continue adding crema until you have enough to coat all the cabbage, then taste and adjust seasonings. (You can save the rest of the crema for another use, keeping it in a closed jar in the refrigerator.) Serve with grilled meats or alone.