Food We Love: Local Produce
Vermont is a Locavore’s paradise! And we’re celebrating the bounty it provides with a new recipe series focusing on in-season produce and recipes from local farms, CSAs and specialty food producers.
First up is Pete’s Greens, in Craftsbury, Vermont. The Pete’s Greens Farmstand is popular for visitors and locals alike with its crazy vegetable and flower covered roof landscape. But the real draw is the organic vegetables, local pastured meats, selections of local cheeses, an array of flours and grains, and a myriad of other local products. Pete’s also runs Good Eats, a weekly food delivery program based on the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model where members receive a weekly share of produce, locavore goods, or meats after making a financial commitment for each seasonal period.
Good Eats’ latest share included Napa Cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage. The flavor of Napa cabbage is somewhat milder and a bit sweeter than that of regular green cabbage. It is delicious raw or cooked, and can be substituted for regular cabbage in most recipes. A head of Napa Cabbage in the fridge lends itself to a wide variety of meal options, from salads and slaws, to sandwich greens, stir fries, soup additions, and more. Nearly all of the head can be used, just not the tough center core. If your Napa sits a while in the fridge and some leaves are limp, you can refresh it with a good soak in cold water. Napa cabbage should be stored unwashed in your crisper drawer, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag. The recipes below are perfect for picnics and barbecues.
Cabbage Picnic Salad
The recipe below is great, but there's lots of room for improvisation -- toss in snap peas or a substitution of garlic scapes, carrots, salad turnips, thinly sliced beets, whatever -- it's all good.
1/3 cup slivered almonds
4 cups (.5 lb) coarsely shredded Napa cabbage
6 ounces snow peas, strings removed, rinsed and thinly sliced
2/3 cups thinly sliced salad turnips
2/3 cups thinly sliced scallions including greens (or baby leeks)
2/3 cups lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
1.5 Tbsp rice vinegar (seasoned or unseasoned)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 clove peeled and minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1. Spread almond slivers out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in a 350°F oven for 5-10 minutes, until nicely browned. OR toast in stick-free or cast-iron skillet on medium high, stirring frequently until browned. Careful not to burn. Set aside.
2. Combine cabbage, snow peas, radishes, scallions, cilantro in a large bowl. Can make this step a day or two ahead.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, ginger, and cayenne until sugar has dissolved. Whisk in the mayonnaise.
4. When ready to serve, gently combine the dressing and almonds with the cabbage mixture.
Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
Feel free to spruce this salad up with more veggies such as grated carrots or cucumber.
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1/2 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 pound Napa cabbage, cored and thinly sliced crosswise (4 cups)
6 radishes, diced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced diagonally
Whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise, vinegar, shallot, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl until sugar has dissolved, then whisk in chives.
Toss cabbage, radishes, and celery with dressing.
Photo: Melissa Malouin