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All hail cabbage, the King of the Crisper. I salute you, and routinely toss your head into my shopping cart. You're economical, reliable, long-lasting, and a gift to your subjects, us loyal home cooks.
There is no vegetable that can languish in your crisper as long as cabbage and still survive to produce a totally pleasing vegetable dish (or five). The lightly overlapping layers of hearty, smooth leaves are like nature’s version of Saran Wrap, and keep the underlying leaves fresh longer than you could reasonably expect. Just peel off and discard any leaves that go a little limp and mangy, until you reach the sturdy, firm usable parts.
Your standard issue green cabbage, will yield at least 8 cups of cooked vegetables. It tastes savory and earthy, yet when caramelized has a sweet undertone. So at under $1.00 per pound, you’d be hard pressed to find better value in a vegetable. What more can you ask from your king?
For a week or so worth of cabbage-y meals, make a batch of Braised Cabbage today (you should double the recipe if you’re feeding a crowd), and serve it as a side dish with roast chicken or pork chops for dinner tonight.
Then, for the rest of the week, use it up as follows:
Tossed with penne pasta and refry. Cook a pound or so of penne (or other short pasta). Fry the pasta with a cup or two of leftover braised cabbage in olive oil. Shower the top of each serving with grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese, and fresh ground black pepper.
Put-an-egg-on-it. Heat the cabbage leftovers in the microwave, while you fry an egg. Douse with hot sauce.
Soup. Substitute braised cabbage for the smothered cabbage called for in this Marcella Hazan recipe. Top with plenty of grated Parmesan.
Colcannon. Fold the remaining cabbage into buttery mashed potatoes to make Colcannon. Top with fried onions.
Pierogi-potstickers. Just when the family might rebel against cabbage week, fill wonton wrappers with the leftover potato-cabbage mixture from the Colcannon. Cook them like pot stickers with water and butter in a pan, simmering until the water is evaporated and they’re golden and crispy on the bottom.
Tell us: How would you use braised cabbage (besides eating it as a side, of course)?
Lucinda Scala Quinn is the author of numerous cookbooks, including the Mad Hungry trilogy—Mad Hungry Family: 120 Essential Recipe to Feed the Whole Crew, Mad Hungry: Feeding Men & Boys, and Mad Hungry Cravings—and appears regularly on both morning television and QVC with her top-selling Mad Hungry Kitchenware line. Lucinda is the former senior vice president and executive editorial director of food and entertaining at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and the host of her own television show, Mad Hungry: Bringing Back the Family Meal. She lives and cooks with her husband and three sons in New York City.