COOKING CABBAGES AND KALE
- Use the whole head
- Think beyond salads and cole slaw
- Cabbages can be “burgers”
- Concentrate the flavors in the oven
- Cream is never wrong...
The whole head
Use the whole head. If you’re using it in a salad, slice it thinly. Otherwise, it’s great as burgers or in wedges.
Not just in a salad
White cabbage is often thinly sliced and used in salads. Shredded raw with lemon and sunflower seeds, for example. Or with apple and mint. Cone cabbage is similar to white cabbage but is not as firm. It goes well in classic home cooking such as cabbage soup, cabbage casserole and cabbage rolls.
Red cabbage is associated with Christmas and is good in warm salads. It goes well with oranges and raisins and is the most attractive cabbage. Red cabbage and other “meaty” types of cabbage can be pickled in the same way as cucumbers. It makes them crisper and adds flavor.
Both red and white cone cabbage can be used raw in salads. Shred and lightly salt the cabbage and leave it to stand for a moment to soften. It will add more flavor to your salad. All types are also good cooked with cream or fried/stir fried raw. Otherwise boil them in chunks, place in an ovenproof dish, top with olive oil and goat’s cheese and bake in the oven at 225°C for about 10 minutes.
Creamy or crispy
Broccoli and cauliflower can make mild, creamy soups – unless they’re cooked with a bit of bite left in a wok, or steamed.
Slice raw cauliflower and sprouts thinly and use in salads or as they are with olive oil and flaked salt. But only if you’ve got hold of good ones.
Cut a cabbage into horizontal slices 2 cm thick. This works well on several coarser sorts. Lift them with a broad spatula so they don’t fall apart. Place in aluminum foil with butter and spices and place on the grill. Another variant is to fry them quickly and hard like burgers.
Slice whole wedges from coarse types of cabbage. A small head of cabbage could be cut in half lengthwise, a large one can make as many as eight wedges. Drizzle with a good olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Then bake in the oven until the outer leaves start to be a little singed around the edges. Great with barbecues!
If you dry out leaves of cabbage in the oven – without burning them – you’ll get tasty crisps to serve with drinks or as a side dish or garnish.
Don’t boil cabbage
Some people think that one of the tricks when it comes to cooking cabbage is never to boil it. You get the best flavors out if you bake it in the oven, for example. Cabbage contains a lot of water and according to this philosophy, the last thing you want to do is add more of it. Concentrate the flavors by cooking brassicas in a dry heat in one form or another. But if you do boil it:
Blanching is ideal for vegetables that don’t need much cooking. The method is excellent for brassicas that grow in florets, such as broccoli and cauliflower, but also works for leaves of cabbage. This method gives you a cooked vegetable which has retained its flavor, crispiness, color and nutrients. Here’s how:
- Slice the vegetable into smaller florets/leaves.
- Dip them into already boiling lightly salted water.
- Approximate times: Cauliflower florets: 3 minutes, broccoli florets; 2 minutes, cabbage leaves; 2 minutes.
- Pick them out – use a draining spoon – and dip immediately in cold water.
- Drain and serve.
Cooking in steam is a milder method for cooking vegetables that drowning them in boiling water. This method gives you boiled cabbage with a bit of bite while retaining the flavors, colors and nutrients. There are special ovens for steaming. You can also invent your own using a big saucepan with a lid, a bit of boiling water in the bottom and a colander.
- Cut the vegetable into small pieces, all the same size.
- Rough cooking times: Brussels sprouts, 15 minutes, cauliflower florets; 12 minutes, broccoli florets; 10 minutes; Chinese cabbage 4 minutes.
- Drain before serving.
Brown in butter and/or oil. This draws out the flavor and sweetness. Add a little liquid – water, stock, cider, wine, beer – and reduce until cooked through. It should retain its texture and chewiness.
Cooking in cream
Simmering brassicas with cream brings out big, toffee-like flavors. And your guests will be very, very satisfied...
Everything with cream is good. It’s old school.
– Per Renhed, F12 and other restaurants