With berries and cherries and peaches and beans and chard and, well, all the wonderful seasonal things showing up at farmers markets and grocery stores, I didn’t expect to be writing about cabbage. Something, that despite its use in salads, like crisp coleslaw, I associate more with winter. And which, let’s face it, doesn’t really seem as lush and sexy as berries and cherries and peaches and…!
But I came back from a few days away over the 4th, and there in my fridge were a beautiful head of green cabbage and a beautiful head of purple cabbage just waiting to be used, and that had been picked fresh from a friend’s garden just before I went away.
As seasonal as the others…my summer cabbage.
Maybe because I like reubens and specials, my thoughts turned to how to use it in a sandwich. But probably also because I just plain like sandwiches, whether between two slices of bread, on a roll, wrapped….
So I pulled out whole-wheat tortillas, the green cabbage, garlic, extra-firm tofu, a lime, soy sauce, sesame oil, an avocado, basil, and a yellow cayenne pepper I picked from our garden.
First I sliced eight ounces of tofu and laid the slices in a baking dish. I squeezed juice from the lime into a small bowl, to which I added two teaspoons of soy sauce, one teaspoon of sesame oil, one minced garlic clove, and a couple grinds of pepper. The soy sauce and sesame oil balanced the lime juice. Poured that mix over the tofu to marinate.
While the tofu marinated, I heated enough canola oil to coat a pan over medium to medium-high heat, and cut the green cabbage in half…and then that half in half to get a nice wedge, leaving the core in. Keeping the core allowed me to slice the wedge into slices, which I sautéed in the pan with a clove of minced garlic tossed in, and salt and pepper to season. Five minutes or so per side, til nicely browned.
Cabbage slices sautéing, tofu marinating. I charred the cayenne pepper over the open flame of a burner, then thinly sliced it at a bit of an angle to get rings. When I got to the top of it, where most of the seeds were, I poked them out with the tip of my knife.
I removed the cabbage to a dish, added a little more oil to the pan, and then sautéed the tofu slices along with the marinade. As the marinade cooked off, the slices browned.
Used half the avocado and cut in slices. Rolled several basil leaves up and cut them into thin shreds.
Assembly. On a whole-wheat tortilla, softened/charred a little over a burner: a cabbage slice, a few tofu slices, a few avocado slices, a couple of pepper rings, some shredded basil. Rolled up.
Had a grilled quality sans grilling. Avocado brought a nice creaminess, peppers had a kick!, all with the back notes of lime and basil. Some parts of the cabbage were crisp, and some soft, all with that nice mellower taste cabbage gets when it’s cooked.
A terrific summer cabbage wrap.