Seasonal Spotlight: Napa Cabbage

We're visiting family in Texas this month and, thanks to CSA-style deliveries from Greenling, we have been inundated with Napa cabbage. What can one do with a head – or three – of this crisp and delicately-flavored vegetable?

Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese or celery cabbage, is milder and sweeter than regular cabbage. Its white stalks and crinkly, pale green or yellow leaves may be eaten raw or cooked. In Asian cuisines, Napa cabbage is often used in stir fries, soups, dumplings, and Korean kimchee. The wonderfully textured, ruffled leaves are excellent in fresh salads and slaws. When braised or simmered, the stalks and leaves become tender, juicy, and sweet.

In the past week, we have made Napa cabbage slaw with a sesame oil and rice vinegar dressing, wrapped the leaves into spring/summer rolls, threw finely sliced leaves and stalks into a pot of white bean and root vegetable soup, and made a quick sauté with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. There's still plenty of cabbage left, so we're thinking of this Napa Cabbage and Red Onion Salad from Serious Eats and Pickled Napa Cabbage with Umeboshi Plums from Gourmet. Do you have any other ideas? We're all ears!

Storage and preparation note: Store Napa cabbage whole in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. To prepare the entire head at once, cut it in half lengthwise, remove the core, and chop as desired. Or, separate and wash individual leaves as needed.

Related: Know Your Asian Greens

(Image: Emily Ho)

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Emily Han (formerly Emily Ho) is a writer, recipe developer and educator on topics such as food preservation, wild food and herbalism. She is author of Wild Drinks and Cocktails (Fall 2015), co-founder of Food Swap Network and creator of Miss Chiffonade