I was able to harvest about a half bushel of cabbages from our fall planting.
I need to admit that, shy of coleslaw, I pretty much never cook cabbage. Next I’ll admit to only liking iceberg lettuce, I know, I deserve that.
I’d recently purchased Tender by Nigel Slater, which is officially my new favorite cookbook. Each chapter is a different vegetable, and he covers growing them in your garden (and what varieties he favors), general tips for cooking the veg in question (what seasonings and preparations work best) and then he provides a handful of recipes. The gratin of white cabbage, cheese and mustard looked like the perfect way to expand my repertoire. Amusingly, the recipe calls for no mustard, which I’m guessing is a change the editors made for the American version, and someone forgot to adjust the title accordingly.
First the cabbage is quartered (although we eighth-ed it so as to be more child friendly). Then blanch and set aside in a gratin dish.
Next comes a bechamel sauce with lost of cheese added at the end.
Then pour the sauce over the cabbage, sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake in the oven. You can see that I was on quite a tear that night, as the cabbage was paired with roast chicken and sweet potato bread stuffing (from bread I made myself). This is how I’m cooping with being a restaurant widow. I cook. A lot.
Everything comes out once you get some nice browning.
I am a complete convert to cabbage. I’ve since made this recipe three times and will always have cabbage in my winter garden henceforth. I refuse to give you the exact recipe because you really just need to buy the book. Trust me on this one.
And, for the record, the sweet potato stuffing turned out wonderfully.
Next up, I tried my hand at sauerkraut. I purchased a perfect pickler a few months back and was dying to try it. I followed the instructions instead of using a recipe from one of my canning books. First up, shred the cabbage. Then mash it with a wooden spoon to release the juices.
Add salt, and set aside overnight so more juices are released. Then pound some more. Then toss the whole mess into a mason jar, add something to hold the cabbage submerged in it’s own juices (a ramikin works wonders), top with the perfect pickler air lock and set in a drak place for four days.
After that you have fermented sauerkraut that can live in the fridge. This is an amazing excuse to eat hot dogs.
Especially when dressed with homemade ketchup.
Next time I think I’ll add some seasoning, like caraway seeds, but overall, I think my sauerkraut deserves a solid B. Hurray for cabbage!