Cabbage and cauliflower, not the most elegant and refined vegetables, but reliable members of the Brassica clan. If you are eating seasonally, this is a great time of year to renew your relationship with these nutrient-packed, often overlooked veggies. Don’t dismiss or judge them because of their bad reputation for stinking up the house while cooking and other unpleasant traits best left unmentioned. If it’s been a while since your last encounter with these rustic brassicas, invite them back and you may be pleasantly surprised.
Knowing that I am heading into a season of heavy cooking, I want my food to be fast and easy but completely satisfying. Enter Savoy cabbage, better looking than it’s flat-leaved siblings and better tasting too. These large heads of crinkled, thin, light leaves are excellent in many dishes, cooked or raw in salad or cole slaw.
My favorite way to prepare cabbage is to first fry a couple of pieces of bacon cut into small squares (Skagit River Ranch). When most of the fat is rendered, add half an onion thinly sliced and saute until soft. Add a little liquid — water or chicken broth. Then pile on slices of cabbage (Willie Greens ) after removing the core. Cover and let the cabbage wilt down for a couple of minutes. Using tongs mix it all together and cook a little longer. Use salt & pepper as desired. I served this last night with steamed potatoes and plenty of butter. It was outstanding and could easily be used as the beginning of a soup.
I’m definitely warming up to cauliflower, especially the golden variety sold by Growing Things Farm. There is something very seductive about those veggies that look like they already have been smothered with butter like Yukon Gold potatoes. I think I’ve been working too hard at trying to think of unusual ways to use cauliflower and have ended up disappointed when the distinct taste gets lost in the mix.
Time to go back to the basics. Cut the head into florets and discard the core. Steam in a basket over water just until tender – for me this was less than ten minutes. I topped mine with butter, salt, pepper and a little parmesan cheese. Eat as a side dish or toss into pasta. Roasting cauliflower is another method, with a slightly different texture but also excellent flavor.
Give yourself a break while you are busy planning your local Thanksgiving dinner with some easy meals that are both healthy and gratifying.