My new favorite vegetable is Napa cabbage, sometimes called Chinese cabbage. I’ve ventured to try it only recently, and it is a delight both to cook and to eat.
Napa cabbage is a cultivar of Brassica rapa, a wild mustard. Compared to common head cabbage (Brassica oleracea), it is milder tasting, greener all the way through the head, and less likely to go mushy on the way to being cooked tender. I think of it as sort of a cross between lettuce and cabbage, which of course it isn’t, but it does have lettuce-like qualities, such as being very leafy, unlike common head cabbage that is more dense and has a larger core.
I did a quick stir fry with onion, garlic, celery, carrots and 5-spice powder. Five-spice was new to me, too. I’ll do a separate blog on that. Another time, I simmered sliced cabbage leaves and garlic with a can of Mexican style stewed tomatoes and Morningstar Farms burger crumbles–a quick, nurturing and delicious lunch.
Napa cabbage seems to produce less waste, because more of the vegetable is edible. Another reason to love Napa cabbage is it doesn’t stink up the kitchen or the refrigerator.