I am very excited to be participating in Weekend Herb Blogging for the first time – this blog event has existed for over three years now (178th edition is this week), and began at Kalyn’s Kitchen. Haalo, of Cook (almost) Anything at least Once, took over at some point in the last year. It’s a great way to learn more about cooking with specific herbs and vegetables. This blog event specifically requires focus on vegetables, fruits and herbs, and it became one of my go-to resources this winter when I was trying hard to get out of my vegetable rut and explore cooking with a wider variety of vegetables. This week, the event if hosted by Chriesi of Almond Corner, as announced by Haalo here.
Until a few months ago, I hadn’t cooked with cabbage more than a handful of times, which is silly considering that I really like it. I have really liked it this past winter as it has a great texture and flavors even when bought in a season where vegetables don’t do so well. Cabbages come in many shades and combinations of green, red, purple and white. According to my vegetable reference book, Chez Panisse Vegetables, the species we see the most in the U.S. is Brassica oleracea, which includes the commond red and green heading cabbages, savoy cabbage, broccoli, brussels srpouts, cauliflower, kale, collard greens and kohlrabi. In contrast, many of the Asian cabbages belong to another vey large species B. rapa, which includes napa cabbage, mizuna greens, and many kinds of bok choy. When picking cabbage, look for heads that are tight, firm and heavy for their type, with shiny, crisp outer leaves, unless you are buying Savoy cabbage, in which case you look for a looser head and more o fa matte finish.
I found this recipe for Tangy Shredded Cabbage Salad over at Smitten Kitchen and it rapidly became one my new favorites – it’s easy, fast, and despite the strong bite of the chile, really lets the flavor of the cabbage emerge. Even better, it keeps very well in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, losing next to none of its crunch. I make it now pretty much whenever I make any sort of Indian food but this cabbage goes equally well with grilled chicken or pork. I will say, however, that while I love it with the Sour Chickpeas dish I posted yesterday, I am a bit odd in that I really like sour food combinations (though, go figure, I don’t like traditional pickles) – I would recommend combining this salad with Curried Lentils with Sweet Potato or Red Lentils – or you can come back next week for What’s Cooking Wednesday for a recipe for curry with red kidney beans.
2 cups tightly packed, shredded green cabbage (use the large holes of the grater) (CGL Note: I just shredded it using the food processor)
1 small serrano chile, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or more as needed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
Instructions: In a medium bowl, toss together the cabbage, chile, lemon juice, salt and sugar. Taste and adjust the seasoning. You are looking for a well-balanced, sweet and sour taste. Heat the oil in a small skillet or butter warmer over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the mustard seeds, covering the pan with a lid or splatter screen. When seeds top popping, immediately pour the oil over the cabbage salad and toss well. Let the salad sit for at least 15 minutes before serving, to allow the flavors to blossom. Serve cold or at room temperature.
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