Cabbage Tops

We love braising greens: kale, chard, collards, rapini. dandelion, spinach… But I’ve never cooked with cabbage tops. They’re the second, leafy growth from cabbage plants after the familiar round head is picked. Like a lot of early-season vegetables they’re here and gone within a week or two. So when a box of fresh-picked cabbage tops showed up from Vantreight Farms in Saanich, the same day as a couple of Spring Creek ribeyes from Slaters, it was a match made in heaven. I used olive oil, garlic, a shallot, red pepper flakes, and a splash of chicken stock. This simple recipe brings out the best in any of the brassicas—that wide and wonderful family of delicious leafy greens that also happen to be good for you.

• Peel and thinly slice the shallot. Smash, peel, and thinly slice the garlic. Wash the cabbage tops, trim the heavier stems, and chop the leaves, stems and sprouts coarsely. Liberally cover the bottom of a sauté pan with olive oil and sauté the shallot over medium heat. Add the garlic, a pinch of red pepper flakes to taste, and a pinch of coarse salt. Add the cabbage tops and toss to coat with oil. Cook for a minute or two, then add half a cup of chicken stock. Simmer for 7-10 minutes, until the cabbage tops are shiny green and tender but not soggy. You can serve this as a side dish or toss in pasta with some shredded hard Italian cheese. Bon appetit!

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