January 1, 2014


What you probably know is that cabbage is a leafy green plant grown as an annual vegetable crop for its dense-leaved heads and is closely related to other veggies, like broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. What you probably don’t know is that cabbage was most likely domesticated somewhere in Europe before 1000 BC and that by the Middle Ages, it had become a prominent part of European cuisine, especially in the wintertime because it’s so hardy. Denmark was no exception. Spidskål is a Danish Cabbage Salad featured by Mikkel Lippman from Copenhagen in the new Kinfolk Table. I used Nappa Cabbage for this recipe which is a Chinese, not Danish, Cabbage with a Japanese name – “nappa” is colloquial term in Japanese referring to the leaves of any vegetable, especially when used as food. So, once again, the world meets in this simple, elegant dish with a crispness from the cabbage, a nuttiness from the sesame seeds, and a tanginess from the dressing. But despite its simplicity – perhaps because of it – it can hold its own on any celebratory table.

1/2 cup white sesame seeds

1 head napa cabbage

3 tbsps red wine vinegar

2 tsps Dijon-style mustard

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Toast the sesame seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely.

Discard any torn or wilted leaves from the outside of the cabbage. Cut the head in half and discard the core. Finely shred or chop the cabbage, placing it a wide mixing bowl as you work. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add half of the toasted sesame seeds. Toss well and set aside.

Combine the vinegar and mustard in a small mixing bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil to form an emulsified dressing. Drizzle the dressing over the cabbage and toss to coat evenly. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining toasted sesame seeds. Serve cold or at room temperature.

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