Friday, February 20, 2009

Grey Cabbage

The prize for the dullest vegetable on the rack has to go to white cabbage.

Considering its affordability and availability, you'd think we would do more with it than over cooking it as a gloomy accompaniment to the main dish.

The imagination begins and ends with coleslaw and sauerkraut. White cabbage? It should be called "grey cabbage".

But this boring Brassica has hidden depths – it has a rich history, being a favourite dish of Pythagoras, before it was introduced to us by the Romans and was used by Captain Cook as a source of vitamin C for his sailors.

It is pretty good for you, being high in iron, potassium and calcium, as well as vitamins A, C, B1, B3, B3 and D.

So, finding a very ripe one in the bottom of the fridge, I took the cabbage challenge and have tried to do make something edible with it. The jury's out - you decide!

1 medium white cabbage, grated
50g root ginger, grated
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 desert spoon cumin seeds
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Demerara sugar
2 tablespoons roasted pumpkin seeds
1½ litres veg stock
salt to taste
1 bayleaf
spring onion

Heat the oil in a large pan and put in the cumin seeds, ginger and garlic. Sweat for a moment and then add the grated cabbage, vinegar, sugar and bayleaf. Stir together and keep on the heat until it shrinks a little.

Add the stock and simmer for five minutes, until the cabbage begins to soften. Let it cool and transfer to a blender. Add most of the pumpkin seeds and blend to a smooth pure. Serve with chopped spring onion and the rest of the pumpkin seeds.

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