Friday, March 6, 2009

The Versatile Cabbage

This is the month where cabbage affectionados will be going wild. St. Paddy's Day is coming and the veggie will be presented a variety of ways. The thing is that cabbage shouldn't be reserved for Ireland's big day. its's a good enough vegetable to be eaten all year round.

The cabbage is part of the Brassacae family ( the same family that give you Brussels Sprouts) and is a cousin to the turnip.The name derives from the Norman Picard word for swollen head, caboche . it was eaten in Europe for centuries , long before two other staples, potaotes and tomatoes, came imported from the New World. It is one of the best sources of Vitamin C in the winter months (probably why it was a staple in so many homes ).

What todo with cabbage. Most European cultures stuff it. My Piedmontese relatives make pas coi, (loosely transplated "not fish"' in dialect) This is where you take the leaves , them with uncooked polenta and then fry, The rolls are then married in a pickling of salvia and vinegar in the fridge overnight. My Swabian German cousins make the ubiquitous sauerkraut with them. You can do this but you can also make a raw cabbage salad with carrots and sweet vinaigrette dressing. Cabbage is also good in soup and there's even the cabbage soup diet where the soup is one of the main things you eat.

Don't save cabbage just for St Paddy's Day. have it al lyear round in soups or stuffed or even as a tangy salad. Use this versatile vegetable as often as you like.

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