Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cabbage Love

On Sunday night I made a recipe using a cabbage from my garden. It remains to be seen if the other two plants will produce anything as good, but this was a solid, medium-sized head of green cabbage that shredded wonderfully and had that clean, fresh smell. I had just put together a cucumber salad with sour cream and mayonnaise, so didn't want to make a slaw. But I'm also not a terribly big fan of cooked cabbage.

I remembered a recipe called "Cabbage Love" from the Common Ground Garden (monastery CSA) Web site. It had struck me as an odd combination of ingredients, but I really trust the creator of the recipe, Ryan Kutter's wife Jenny Kutter, so I thought I'd try it. So far their recipes on the site had never let me down (though I can't say I'd tried any of Jenny's originals yet).

Cabbage love is shredded cabbage stir-fried/sauteed in vinegar and a sauce that is molasses, sesame oil and sweet pepper sauce. It is served with tomatoes over pasta. I also had pulled off the first plum tomato from the garden that day, so I was set. It called for Philippino hot banana sauce, which I didn't have, but looking around it seemed Thai sweet pepper sauce would be comparable.

The molasses is what scared me. I almost substituted hoisin sauce, and in the future I might change that out. I did substitute rice wine vinegar for the white vinegar called for in the recipe.

The dish is quite good. The sauce is subtle enough and balanced and there was just the right amount for my medium cabbage. I wondered about serving it over bowtie pasta instead of rice, but that was a great combination, too. The pasta absorbed enough of the sauce and complemented the dish. It was a great, simple summer supper, and I'll definitely make it again. I have two more cabbage plants out there busily making leaves and pulling them into a little ball...

Here's the recipe:

Cabbage Love

by Jenny Kutter
(serves 4-6)

1 medium savoy or other green cabbage, finely chopped, almost shredded
1 large tomato, finely chopped, 1/4 inch or less
scant 1/4 cup sesame oil
2 tsp molasses
2 Tbs hot banana sauce (Philippine hot sauce)
or heat-equivalent measurement of other hot sauce, to taste
1 tsp black pepper
1/4–1/2 cup white wine vinegar
16 oz. rombi or bowtie pasta, or your favorite shape (the flatter shapes present better)

Place the cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt until lightly coated. Mix with your hands, then place a heavy plate or bowl on top of the cabbage to press it for at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the sesame oil, molasses, hot sauce and black pepper. Heat a large skillet over med-high heat. Spray lightly with cooking oil. When the pan is piping hot, quickly pour the vinegar into the pan and allow it to steam and reduce about 1 minute. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring frequently for 1-2 minutes. Add the sauce and cook until the cabbage just begins to lose shape but is still crisp. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.

Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the pasta. Drain. Add the tomato to the cabbage. Mix, then add the pasta and mix well.

There are other good recipes at the site, arranged by main ingredient:

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