Cabbage factors into one of my family's favorite food memories. While watching a parade in New Orleans for St. Patrick's Day a few years ago, we caught heads of cabbage thrown to us from passing floats. We took them to a relative's house, boiled them and stuffed some of the leaves with beef keema and chopped the rest to use in a tomato-lemon sauce. That's the only way I've been able to get my household to eat cabbage, but I'm hopeful that we'll add chef Gordon Russell's recipe (below) to our dinner rotation.
Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations valued this cruciferous vegetable for its healing qualities. Studies indicate that it contains a potent cancer-preventing compound as well as anti-inflammatory properties, and it aids digestion and lowers cholesterol.
Cabbage was brought to North America from Europe in the 1600s, and the first record of planting cabbages here was in 1699, according to the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom.
USDA figures from 2009 show that 500 acres of cabbage were grown in the state (including 5 to 7 acres in Hanover County), producing about 7 million pounds. Leonel Lopez, who brings his produce from Westmoreland County to the Lakeside Farmers' Market, says he expects to have cabbage for sale by early June.
Caribbean Spicy Fried Cabbage
Contributed by C. Gordon Russell, president and co-founder of Gordon's Quiche Café (9681 W. Broad St., 334-6478 or gordonsgourmetquiche.com). He says it makes a good accompaniment to rice and curry dishes, and if you prefer a little more heat, throw in a jalapeño or Scotch bonnet pepper. Russell previously operated a North Side restaurant called The Welcome Table, and he opened his current place on Feb. 1 in the Westpark Shopping Center. You can also find him and his team selling quiches — they make 135 varieties — on Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. at the vendors market outside the Whole Foods store in Short Pump.
- 1 large, firm green cabbage
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely sliced
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon of coriander
- 1 teaspoon of finely grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon of seasoning salt
- 2 tablespoons of Caribbean jerk seasoning
Grate the cabbage coarsely, as you would for coleslaw. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion, peppers and carrots until they're tender. Add the garlic, ginger and cabbage, along with the cayenne, coriander and jerk seasoning. Sauté the cabbage, tossing and stirring until the spices are well mixed. Cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes until the cabbage is tender, but not too soft. Sprinkle with the seasoning salt and mix well. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.