It was finally a beautiful, expected summer’s day – warmth with clinging humidity and not a threatening cloud in the sky. I started my day, as I like to with a grounding walk through the market greeting the arrival of apricots, patty pan squash and the ethereally assertive lemon verbena. I chatted with Nicole regarding the farm party that was being planned, and was told to save the date. The folks at Cherry Lane Farms confided they actually needed some rain – just not another 24-day stretch of it. I always take time to have a natter with Betsy and Ken for they are only summertime residents of the market, and we always have a good laugh.
Betsy produces an esoteric Egyptian shallot, prefect peach tomatoes, and a superb selection of greens. And, nestled amongst the Tuscan kale and bok choy was a small head of cabbage.
Now, this was no common green head of potential sauerkraut. It was clearly a cabbage but it was pointed, conical not globular and the leaf felt decidedly less tender then its most expected relative. I was told it was a Wakefield cabbage more properly referred to as Early Jersey Wakefield – but of course. It is an early harvest heirloom variety that owes its heritage to English breeding, and was planted in the Jeffersonian garden. At first blush I was not seeing a precious, preserved genetic resource with lineage beyond the Daughter’s of the Revolution, I saw the ferocious potted planted from Little Shop of Horrors. This had to be the visual reference for that movie I cannot believe in such coincidence so, I placed it on my counter in a small pot, and waited. Two days later it never bellowed out in that Levi Stubbs baritone, “Seymour, feed me!” I figured if it was not going to ask to be fed then I was going to eat it.
White Salad – serves 6 to 8
1 green apple – such as Lodi or Granny Smith
1 fennel bulb
1/4-cup fresh lemon juice
3 small cucumbers (approx.1/2-pound)
4 scallions – roots discarded.
1 small white cabbage head
1/4-teaspoon caraway – crushed
1/3-cup white wine vinegar
1/4-cup oil olive
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Core the apple, and then slice the apple and fennel a thin julienne. In a small work bowl toss the apple and fennel with the lemon juice and salt. Put to the side.
In the meanwhile, julienne the cucumber, scallions and cabbage, and place in a large work bowl. To the cabbage add the caraway, vinegar, oil black pepper and apples and fennel, and toss to thoroughly combine. Taste to correct seasoning.