Of Cabbages & Kings

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OK, so I had a little fun with cabbage and a crown. Thanks to my bud JB for reminding me of this line.

It’s hard to get excited about cabbage. Even its name rhymes with baggage, bringing to mind burdens – things weighing us down. But give it a chance and it my surprise you. I think it’s the most underrated vegetable in the patch.

I got a cabbage the size of a bowling ball in my Community Supported Agriculture share last week and immediately cleaved it, setting aside half for a cabbage/kale slaw with lime dressing. Lime adds a tangy zip to any recipe, and the slaw stayed remarkably fresh for a few days. I served it instead of salad one night, and as a topper for tacos the next. It’s always a relief to have something in the bullpen at dinnertime.

I usually bypass cabbage in the produce section, but was intrigued with its appearance in my CSA basket. Loaded with nutrients, low in calories and touted for its health benefits (more vitamin C than orange juice), the dense green orb was a welcome diversion from lettuce and other greens.

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A bin of fresh cabbage outside my local Big Y supermarket. I got some in my CSA share, but there’s a bounty this time of year.

This week, Rainbow Chaser and my buddy Flower Power share their favorite cabbage recipes. Flower Power joined our CSA about a month ago, and gives it mostly positive reviews. But she’s a planner, so she says it’s hard to plot meals when you don’t know what’s coming. And she takes exception to a few limp carrots and a puny zucchini that creeped into her bin last week. I reminded her – or maybe I just thought I did – that being in a CSA is a little like having your own garden. You get what it gives, and sometimes it ain’t pretty, but still tastes good.

Will she stick with it? Only time will tell. I should point out that she and I are receiving small family-sized shares for $15/week. Not bad for a bin full of organic produce.

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Change of pace: sautéed cabbage. Add sausage, shrimp, beef or chicken for quick and tasty one-dish meal.

RAINBOW CHASER:

In my mind, it’s the Rodney Dangerfield of vegetables – it gets no respect. Other than its annual roll out on St. Patrick’s Day and starring role in cole slaw, I gave cabbage little thought. I picked around it when it was served with corned beef – to avoid eating it.

When I received a large head of cabbage in my CSA basket, I asked the Kale Queen what to do with it. She suggested sautéed cabbage. Huh? She advised that Ina Garten has a great recipe for it. I was skeptical, but she insisted it’s very good. Since I’ve discovered so many delicious vegetables that I didn’t know existed though the CSA, I was willing to give the recipe a try.

It had so few ingredients, I couldn’t imagine that the dish would be special, but when I tasted it, I was hooked. I invited my husband to try it and he demurred, but I insisted. Like me, he was shocked to find that he likes cabbage after all.

We served it with sausage and sautéed onions for dinner that night. A great meal, built around a very respectable vegetable.

SAUTEED CABBAGE

Cut the cabbage in half and, with the cut-side down, slice it as thinly as possible around the core, as though you were making coleslaw. Discard the core.

INGREDIENTS

 1 small head white cabbage, including outer green leaves (2 1/2 pounds)

 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

Melt the butter in a large saute pan or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender and begins to brown. Season, to taste, and serve warm.

Author Credit: Ina Garten, 2001 Barefoot Contessa Parties.

FLOWER POWER:

After reading the first of several installments in this blog series on Community Supported Agriculture, I immediately wanted to try it.  I had long been curious, but didn’t really know anyone with firsthand CSA experience. After several weeks of participating, I’ve made a few great dishes: sausage and peppers, roasted tomato soup, roasted butternut squash and apple soup, some tender lettuce salads and a roasted cabbage slaw.  I was thrilled to have my first purple carrot ever and enjoyed the challenge of finding recipes to use my new bounty of produce.

On the negative side, I’m having some trouble using the amount of produce I’m receiving. Some of the greens are unfamiliar so I’m not sure what to do with them.  One week we ate out three nights in a row so I had a surplus.  I must admit on a week like that my compost gets the excess leafy greens. Overall, it’s an interesting experience. I got the following recipe from themediterreancook.com. It’s a nice alternative to cole slaw for those who dislike mayonnaise, like me. I loved the dish, which I made without the mint because I had none available.

 

ROASTED CABBAGE SLAW WITH ORANGE-GARLIC VINAIGRETTE

 

7 thoughts on “Of Cabbages & Kings

  1. Glad you could use the line as the title of your blog. I’ve always loved it. And I love cabbage too. Coleslaw, of course. My mother used to make it in soup with a little tomato sauce – simple, but delicious. I like it in a garden salad as well.
    I wonder if Lewis Carroll liked it? With some oysters, perhaps?
    JB

    Like

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