Veggie of the Week - Cabbage
sponsored by Coleman Farms
For many people cabbage still seems to be associated with immigrants in tenements, to be the food of poor people whose cooking odor hangs sulphurous and dismal in the hallways.
It's a shame to be so put off. Good green cabbage can have flavors ranging from a bright slightly sweet grassiness something like a Gravenstein without the acid to an invigorating mustard/pepper. Red cabbage is to green cabbage as red wine to white, tending to heavier more complex flavor and odors. The texture of cabbage is special, too - crisp but neither hard like a carrot nor juicy like an apple. In fact, a wedge of cabbage is a good substitute for a piece of fruit: refreshing, nutritious and very low in calories. Dress it up, if you will, with a slice of cheese or some peanut butter.
Cabbage can show up in meals raw or cooked. Cole slaws can be as simple as grated cabbage dressed with some yoghurt, pepper or chile and mustard to something more like Waldorf salad, including red and green cabbage, nuts, fruit.... Fine sliced cabbage can also help a tossed salad, contrasting with lettuces in both texture and flavor. You can use cabbage steamed as a vegetable dish, in a variety of soups or stews, or in a vegetable melange, and the outer leaves of large cabbages can be used for stuffing.
Cabbage will taste like cabbage, but in cooking, like onions, it can also enhance other flavors. Since cabbage is good raw, it's also good slightly cooked, and it works well with strong herbs and spices, pretty much anything you'd put into a curry, so you can wilt/braise/stirr fry shredded cabbage and thin carrot coins on top of some clarified onions, add chile, ginger, turmeric or whatever, and raisins, let them plump a bit then finish with yoghurt and nuts - enjoy the umami.