Sarah is Food52's senior staff writer & stylist.
It depends what vegetables are the base of your slaw. Delicate, watery vegetables like cabbage and lettuce (see http://food52.com/recipes...) will wilt and release liquid as they sit, but sturdier vegetables like carrots, radishes, and turnips should marinate in the dressing for an hour or so in order to absorb all the delicious flavors!
Monita is a Recipe Tester for Food52
Even when I make a traditional cole slaw with cabbage and carrots I dress it at least 2 hours before. That's because I like a more liquidy slaw. I think it improves the taste
I've been checking out some oil/vinegar dressed slaws. I like this one -- http://food52.com/recipes... -- and have been checking it day by day. I think it was best after 24 hours, but I'm enjoying it now on day 4. We like our slaw wilted, so overnight is a minimum (creamy or not). This is with the cabbage sliced on a mandoline, by hand or with a food processor. If the cabbage is chopped or shredded, I assume the time would be shorter.
Once dressed do you let it do its thing on countertop or reefer?
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