Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Heirloom Cabbage 'Red Acre' and Red Cabbage Salad with Pistachios

Brassica oleracea 'Red Acre' is a beautiful and rich reddish-purple heirloom cabbage variety, firm and compact. We harvested five heads on July 28, measuring 6-7 inches in diameter and weighing nearly 3 pounds each. One was shared with a neighbor and the others set aside until we could decide upon the preparation. Another positive attribute is that it stores extremely well in the refrigerator.

Following is a new recipe I found. Simple preparation, a beautiful addition to any meal, and oh, so good. I must admit that after my first bite, I thought, Yah, that's okay, and then a second bite had me with That's pretty good. The third bite speaks for itself as I made it for a second time this month, and finally last evening, August 29, I used the last beautiful and fresh head so we could enjoy it once more. Fall's harvest cannot come soon enough.

Red Cabbage Salad with Pistachios from Diana's kitchen
(adapted from Cilantropist, courtesy of James Peterson)

one small red cabbage, chopped into ribbons
1 tablespoons salt
1/3 cup sherry (red wine or rice) vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 cup canola oil
ground black pepper
1- 1 1/2 cups shelled pistachios

Remove outer leaves of cabbage, quarter the head and remove the cores. Thinly slice each quarter into 1/4 inch ribbons. (thinner = less crunchy, thicker = crunchier) Place cabbage in a large bowl and toss with salt, stirring/rubbing to be sure all pieces are covered with salt. Then remove the cabbage from the bowl and place in a strainer over a bowl or the sink and let drain about 30 minutes.

Whisk together vinegar, sesame oil, canola oil, and a few grinds of black pepper.

After 30 minutes take handfuls of the cabbage and squeeze out excess water and place in a large clean bowl. Mix the dressing with the slaw and refrigerate, enough time for it to become nicely chilled. Just before serving toss the pistachios in with the cabbage and enjoy.

Note: the recipe calls for toasting the pistachios in the oven, but we located some roasted and shelled pistachios that worked just fine. Since one head makes a nice quantity, enough for leftovers, we put some aside and only mix the pistachios with the portion of salad to be served. (pistachios become soggy overnight)