Thursday, January 8, 2009

Cabbage is Delicious

Summertime and autumn get the lions share of press when it comes to fruits and vegetables, but the winter offers some very delicious produce as well. Cabbage is one of my favorite, favorite vegetables and it is so versatile, healthy, low-calorie and yummy. Sometimes I get a small head of purple cabbage and I will slice it into wedges, salt it slightly, squirt some lime juice on it and eat it raw. Napa cabbage is light and really watery, so it is great in stir-fry, or turned into kimchi. I've made my own kimchi at home and it was so worth it. Its one of the top ten healthiest foods in the entire world! Eat more kimchi!

Weight Watchers, as I mentioned, really is soup-heavy. I picked up a dense, pale-green head of regular green cabbage last week, and used about half of it in a soup. But then I had all this cabbage leftover. A large head of cabbage goes a LONG, long way, and can keep for a long time in the fridge, but I like plowing through my produce quickly so its at the height of freshness.

I think raw cabbage is delicious, but not everyone likes its earthy, watery flavor. Cooking it can tenderize it, but it can give off a somewhat bitter taste if overcooked. A really great way to prepare green cabbage, therefore, is to salt-and-rinse it, and eat it raw in a salad. Lots of people eat raw cabbage in cole slaw, but weighing sweet cabbage down with heavy dressing masks its flavor and negates its health properties. This is a really easy way to eat raw cabbage with bright flavor, and keep all the health benefits.
Salted Cabbage Salad

1/4 head cabbage, sliced into thin shreds
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Thinly sliced red bell pepper
Thinly sliced cucumber
Cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into strips (just bake in the oven w/ the seasoning of your choice until done - I always keep a few cooked breasts in the fridge for salads and stuff)
Black pepper
1 tablespoon ponzu sauce (available in the supermarket near the soy sauce - to make your own, just use 1/2 soy sauce and 1/2 lemon juice)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Optional: jarred sliced japalenos

Place the sliced cabbage in a collander, and sprinkle salt over it and mix it together with your hands. No need to use ALL the salt, you just want enough to get the cabbage sprinkled.

Let the cabbage sit in a collander for 45 minutes - 1 hour. It will turn slightly greener, and become softer. Give the cabbage a REALLY good rinse under cold water - it will remove all the extra salt and leave the cabbage with a slightly briny taste that brings out its natural flavor.

Toss in a bowl with the cucumber, pepper, and jalapenos. There is enough salt in the cabbage so no need to add dressing.

Meanwhile, take the chicken you've sliced, and stir it around in another bowl with the ponzu sauce for just a few seconds. Place the chicken on top of the mixed vegetables. Cover with black pepper and the olive oil.

It is VERY good. This much could probably serve 2 people, but if you don't tell anyone, I ate the whole thing for lunch.

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