Jul
09
    
Posted (Lori) in News
NAPA CABBAGE

We’re getting both regular cabbage and Napa cabbage in our shares this week.

The regular cabbage is Jersey Wakefield, a teardrop-shaped heirloom that is vastly superior to just about any other cabbage I’ve ever tried—sweeter, crisp and tender at the same time. The simplest way to eat it is just tear it into bite-size pieces, drizzle on a little olive oil and salt, maybe toss with some garlic scape (roast or sauté the garlic scape for a minute or two before adding to the cabbage). Most of the coleslaw recipes in Recipes from America’s Small Farms (pp. 73-74) work well with this variety.

Napa cabbage looks quite different and is leafier than regular cabbage (except for its rib). It’s also known as Chinese cabbage; there are two kinds of Chinese cabbage, the kind we got in our share in Week 1 and the one we’re getting this week and calling Napa. Napa cabbage can be cooked like any leafy green, but it works particularly well in Asian salads and spring rolls. Another way to use it is to roast it—tear it into large piece, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread it in a pan or on a cookie sheet. Roast in 400 degree oven for about five minutes until it begins to brown; then remove from the oven—it will become browner and crisper as it rests. If you leave it in the oven longer, the ribs will become softer and tastier, but the leaves will burn (I know, I just tried it). If you want, you can separate the leaves and ribs and roast them separately. You can intensify the flavor by seasoning the olive oil before tossing with the cabbage; slowly sauté a few cloves of garlic or garlicscape, an onion, and your favorite herbs in the oil, letting the flavor develop over 10-15 minutes.

Napa cabbage is a favorite ingredient in spring rolls. Shred the cabbage and mix two cups of shredded cabbage with a cup of rice or cellophane noodles, a tablespoon or soy sauce, other vegetables such as sautéed mushrooms, strings beans, or squash. Add diced shrimp or other meat if you like. Mix in a tablespoon on Szechuan or Hoison sauce, or your favorite seasoning and mix until everything is blended and sticks together. Wrap in wonton wrappers (there are pictures on the package showing you how) and bake or fry per the package directions. Or—you can can use the cabbage leaves as a simpler wrapper. Save some large leaves; fold them in half lengthwise, so that the thick rib is in the center. Place the filling on the rib and fold the leafy part around the rib to make a little packet. I’ve found that some kids (not all of them) like these packets and will eat things inside them that they would not otherwise consider.

Napa Cabbage Salads—I didn’t try these, but they both seem easy and delicious—and make good use of vegetables in this week’s share

NAPA with NOODLES and ALMONDS

1 head napa cabbage

1 bunch minced green onions

1/3 cup butter

1 (3 ounce) package ramen noodles, broken

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 cup slivered almonds

1/4 cup cider vinegar

3/4 cup vegetable oil

½ cup white sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

  1. Finely shred the head of cabbage; do not chop. Combine the green onions and cabbage in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. Make the crunchies: Melt the butter in a pot. Mix the ramen noodles, sesame seeds and almonds into the pot with the melted butter. Spoon the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake the crunchies in the preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven, turning often to make sure they do not burn. When they are browned remove them from the oven.
  4. Make the dressing: In a small saucepan, heat vinegar, oil, sugar, and soy sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil, let boil for 1 minute. Remove the pan from heat and let cool.
  5. Combine dressing, crunchies, and cabbage immediately before serving. Serve right away or the crunchies will get soggy.

Napa Cabbage and Tofu Salad with Sesame Dressing

Contributed by Deborah Madison

DRESSING

  1. 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  2. 1 large garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  3. 1/2 large jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  4. 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon tahini (sesame paste)
  5. 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
  6. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  7. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  8. 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  1. Combine all of the ingredients except for the cilantro and mint in a mini food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cilantro and mint. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a gentle simmer. Add salt. Put half of the tofu in a small strainer and ease it into the water. Simmer over moderate heat for 2 minutes, then transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining tofu.
  3. On a large platter or individual plates, arrange the tofu, Napa cabbage, spinach, red cabbage, kohlrabi, radishes and carrot strips. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the dressing over the tofu or pass it separately. Garnish with the sesame seeds and serve.

SALAD

  1. Salt
  2. 1 pound soft tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
  3. 4 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage (about 1/2 large head)
  4. 2 cups spinach leaves, finely shredded (see Note)
  5. 1 cup finely shredded red cabbage
  6. 1 medium kohlrabi or small jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  7. 5 large radishes, cut into matchsticks
  8. 1 large carrot, shaved into thin curls with a vegetable peeler
  9. Freshly ground pepper
  10. 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds or toasted white sesame seeds, for garnish

Make Ahead The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving. Notes To finely shred spinach leaves (make a chiffonade), simply stack and roll the leaves, then cut them crosswise into thin strips with a sharp knife.

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