Popcorn cabbage

It’s a topping.
It’s a side dish.
It’s an entree, if you really like cabbage and corn and red pepper.

It’s popcorn cabbage!

That’s the name I’ve given it at least, based on the happy way it reminds me of salty, buttery popcorn, while also bringing a sweet note and a smooth texture. Sounds good, right?

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Popcorn cabbage, all done

The recipe’s orgins are based in CSA serendipity. Having gotten a head of cabbage in my weekly share a few months ago, I had the thought, Why don’t I try something new?

For me and cabbage, this meant not letting the cabbage sit in the fridge for several weeks and then using it as a minor soup ingredient or as a lettuce replacement for tacos and taco salad. I happened to also have an ear of corn at the time, and with my first thought being, ‘I want to try something that cooks the crunch out of the cabbage,’ I started by sauteing the cabbage in olive oil. Then the rest  followed from there, with the addition of a chopped red pepper and fresh corn.

Popcorn cabbage

The ingredients:

  • 3/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 ear of corn, kernels cut off to use
  • 1 tsp salt

The steps:

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat
  2. Add the cabbage and sauté until almost soft
  3. Add the red pepper
  4. Add the water and continue to cook till the cabbage is soft and the pepper is mostly soft (you can cover the frying pan for a few minutes to quicken this step, if you want)
  5. Add the corn, and cook the mixture for about three minutes
  6. And then add the salt

It’s easy to make, so if if you’re looking to try something new, give it a try. Here’s how the ingredient roll-call and the steps looked when I made it this week.

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Yes, it wasn’t the biggest head of cabbage I’d gotten this year, but it was the pointiest.

An upstanding red pepper

An upstanding red pepper

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One of six I ears I got at the farmers’ market

As for the steps, the initial preparation was quick. I chopped the cabbage and red pepper into small pieces, and I cut the kernels off the corn. My technique for the corn is to break the ear in half, stand each half upright on a cutting board (one half at a time), and then slice the kernels off with a knife.

From conehead to flattop

From conehead to flattop

Half a pepper, diced

Half a red pepper, diced

And the corn

And the fresh corn

With that done, all that is left is to add the ingredients one at a time and cook. Since this was my first time cooking conehead cabbage, I also had a cabbage realization: the top part of a conehead cabbage cooks faster than any part of a regular cabbage (which makes sense since the leaves on a conehead are thinner).

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I’ve tried a few variations since the first time I made it, such as also sauteing an onion at the beginning (not bad, but it takes away from the corn and cabbage; the simpler the better for this one) and making it without the chopped red pepper (also not bad, but then it’s missing the color, the art, and an added taste-subtlety of similar size).

Plus, if the recipe uses half a red pepper, you can cut the other half for a snack!

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After I was done, I did some online searching and found that there are indeed some recipes out there similar to mine. For some reason though, they’re all called Sauteed Cabbage. To the internet and the world, I thus add the following entry: Popcorn Cabbage. Sometimes all you need are three ingredients.

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