A riff on stuffed cabbage, a creamy pasta and gingery cabbage rolls all prove why the leafy green is a home-cooking favorite.
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By Sam Sifton
Good morning. I saw my friend the osprey soaring over the bay on Sunday, back from her winter sojourn, and green tips on some of the trees in the woods. I bet we’re a month from pea shoots, with asparagus hot on its heels.
Until then, though: Cabbage continues its reign. And Melissa Clark has a fantastic new recipe to please the court: roasted cabbage with Parmesan, walnuts and anchovies (above). It’s her riff on a classic stuffed cabbage, though considerably easier to make, with a delightful balance of textures and tastes. It’d be great on its own, but maybe even better with some flattened chicken thighs.
Alternatively, you might take a look at this terrific Swedish kalpudding, a kind of meatloaf with caramelized cabbage, or creamy pasta with bacon and red cabbage, or gingery cabbage rolls with pork and rice. And don’t forget the cabbage salad they used to serve at Mission Chinese Food in Manhattan. Umami!
Some cabbage-free things to cook right now, as the year hurtles along: spiced salmon with sugar snap peas and red onion; crispy sheet-pan noodles with glazed tofu; ginger-scallion chicken; glass noodles with shrimp and spicy mustard sauce.
Not that you need a proper recipe to make delicious food. You can instead riff off a prompt and see where it leads you. I’ll offer one now: spicy roast chicken tacos with watermelon muchim. It’s something I made over the weekend after reading my colleague Eric Kim’s exciting new cookbook “Korean American” and then leaving the book on my desk at work, so I couldn’t use his written recipe at home.
Here’s what I recalled: cubes of boneless chicken thighs marinated in a sauce of whizzed-up jalapeños, cilantro, garlic, olive oil and a little salt, black pepper and sugar, then roasted on a sheet pan until crispy. While that cooked, I made the muchim: cubes of watermelon tossed with gochugaru, salt and black pepper, slices of jalapeño and a dressing of rice vinegar, fish sauce and sesame oil. Then I heated some tortillas and, wow, that all made for great tacos. Maybe give that a try?
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Now, it’s nothing to do with Spam or polenta, but I’ve been enjoying the Swedish crime drama “Before We Die,” on Amazon Prime. (Starring Alexej Manvelov, so good in “Undercover.”)
Here’s Paige Williams in The New Yorker, on a new law in Idaho that allows hunters to aggressively pursue the gray wolf, a once-endangered species.
In more cookbook news, I’ve been thrilling to Pat Martin and Nick Fauchald’s exhaustive, practical and delicious live-fire treatise “Life of Fire,” which makes me long for long summer days spent cooking and picking pigs. Soon!
Finally, here’s a new Soccer Mommy track: “Shotgun.” “Cold beer and ice cream is all we keep/The only things we really need.” Listen to that while you’re in the cabbage patch, and I’ll be back on Friday.
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