I guess I always knew that I would take to Mark Bittman’s recipes. Anyone who calls himself the Minimalist is already more my speed than, say, Thomas Keller. But until very recently, I only knew Bittman from his blog. Then I got the How to Cook Everything iphone app (which rocks, BTW), and for Christmas, Sam got me How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I’ve been in Bittman heaven ever since.
Can I just pause here to say that in the intro pages Bittman perfectly articulates why we are semi-veg in our house, and it was so refreshing to read something so very practical and non-doctrinaire on the subject.
I had this cabbage staring at me from the crisper, practically daring me to do something interesting with it. And then I found Bittman’s kimchi recipe, and knew that I was going to give it a try. Bittman manages to make this potentially exotic dish seem infinitely simple and practical, even for the person who has tried kimchi just about once and has little clue what to do with it.
Even though this recipe uses familiar ingredients, once put together it packs a surprising amount of funk. This is a testament to the inherent funkiness of a good cabbage, more than anything else, I think. We served the kimchi with beef short ribs, rice, and Momofuku octo-vin. It was fabulous!
- 1 head green cabbage (about 2 lbs), separated into leaves
- 1/2 C coarse salt
- 20 scallions, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 1/4 C soy sauce
- 1/4 C minced garlic
- 1/4 C sugar
- 1 Tbs red pepper flakes
Layer cabbage in a collander set over a bowl, sprinkling salt between leaves. Let wilt for 2 hours. Rinse the salt off, pat dry, and roughly chop.
Mix remaining ingredients and toss with cabbage. Keeps up to a week, getting stronger every day.
NB that you can totally use a real pepper instead of the flakes and it works great. We had some lovely mild chilies hanging around and a few of those added a lot of great flavor.