When I see cabbage at the market, I think about it in one of two ways: coleslaw in the warmer months or braised red cabbage in the cooler months. Sometimes I'll make an Asian-type salad with peanut dressing that veers from this, but generally I sit pretty reliably in the two camps. This week, Mark Bittman set me straight. There is, indeed, a whole other world of cabbage that goes far beyond braising and chopping it for slaw. About the tricky balance of perfect cabbage and soggy cabbage, Bittman notes, "Taste often for doneness; the key is to let the cabbage soften and lose its raw edge while still retaining some of its crunch." He gives recipes for many different versions of cabbage including a few of my favorites: tossing it in a hot and sour soup or stir-frying it with pork and peanuts. How about making a cabbage caesar or cooking it down with eggs and tomatos for an innovative breakfast?
Thankful for an arsenal of new cabbage ideas, I'm afraid braised cabbage won't be on the menu around here for awhile. And right now, I'm perfectly okay with that.
What's your favorite slawless way to enjoy cabbage?
Megan is a freelance writer and recipe developer. Her cookbook, Whole-Grain Mornings, will be available in bookstores nationwide Dec/2013. Megan also owns the Seattle-based artisan cereal company, Marge Granola.
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