Early in the season the veggies trickle in. They come in manageable amounts, even for our family of 3, (2 of whom actually eat solid food). Then it happens. The amount you are used to getting doubles or triples with little to no warning. You get to the next week and you’ve barely made a dent… not only that but you didn’t think ahead and process things to freeze right away because you aren’t used to doing it. It
is was a week ago week 6, and our CSA exploded.
1 Bunch of Scallions
1 Bunch of Basil
1 Chinese Cabbage
2 Heads of Broccoli
1 Green Cabbage
1 Head of Lettuce
1 Bunch of Swiss Chard
1/4 lb Mixed Greens
1 Summer Squash
1 Pattypan Squash
1 Bulb of Fennel
1 Bunch of Turnips
Time for another edition of strained vegetable relationships with Dan! This time we’ll be covering cabbage. Ever since I first got a whiff of sauerkraut and found that the main ingredient of it was cabbage, I’ve tried to avoid it when at all possible, (much to the chagrin of my wife). Over our CSA years we’ve experimented with some salads with raw cabbage and they’ve been ok, but nothing that’s ever made me say, “Woooo! Cabbage!”. (Not entirely true, as cabbage has replaced lettuce as our go to taco topper and we’ve never looked back. But play along with me here, I like hyperbole.) We started with raw cabbage dishes as the look of cooked cabbage always has given me the “it could taste like sauerkraut willies”. Eventually we tried some cooked cabbage dishes, and again they were fine but nothing that made me super excited… until last
Spaetzle with Cabbage, Apple Wood-Smoked Bacon, and Cider Vinaigrette (From Asparagus to Zucchini, 3rd Edition)
(Photo not available as we devoured it too quickly)
4 slices apple wood-smoked bacon, chopped
3/4 C whole milk
2 C flour
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
3 C apple cider
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 tart green apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1 T cider vinegar
2 or more T butter, divided
6 C thinly sliced napa or savoy cabbage, divided
1/4 – 1/2 C finely chopped flat leaf parsley
Cook the bacon until fat is rendered and pieces are crispy. Drain on paper towels, reserving the fat. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Meanwhile, whisk milk, eggs, and 1 t salt in a bowl until smooth. Add flour and nutmeg, stirring just enough to make a slightly lumpy batter. Suspend a colander that has large holes over the boiling water. Pour the spaetzle batter into the colander and quickly press the batter through the holes, with your hand, into the water. Return the water to a boil and boil the spaetzle 1 minute. Drain well through a clean colander. Toss with a small amount of reserved bacon fat. Set aside to air-dry.
(NOTE: We ignored the part above about making spaetzle and used dried spaetzle from the store)
Place apple cider in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and reduce it to 1/2 C. Place the remaining bacon fat in another saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring steadily, until translucent. Add the cider reduction, diced apple, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and let boil 1 minute. Set aside.
To finish the dish: Heat some of the butter in a very large nonstick sauté pan over highest heat. Add half the cabbage and season with a little salt and pepper. Allow the cabbage to wilt and brown a little, stirring occasionally. Remove to a bowl. Working in batches, cook and brown the rest of the cabbage and spaetzle. Combine all the cabbage and spaetzle in the pan and toss with the vinaigrette, reserved bacon, and parsley. Makes 4 servings.