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Healthy & Delicious: Stir-Fried Iceberg Lettuce and Sautéed Cabbage (Gomen)

Editor's note: On Mondays, Kristen Swensson of Cheap, Healthy, Good swings by these parts to share healthy and delicious recipes with us. Take it away, Kristen!

[Photograph: Kristen Swensson]

While sautéed chard and spinach receive more than their fair share of culinary play, you don't hear much about cooked cabbage or lowly, oft-derided iceberg lettuce. It's not their faults. Unjustly dismissed as kind of lame, these stalwarts of the produce aisle are losing the public relations war to hotter, hipper leafy greens.

Both have their advantages, however: they cost less, for one thing. And each should keep much longer than a clamshell of arugula. Admittedly, iceberg can't touch cabbage nutritionally. The latter is packed with fiber, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K, while the former makes you feel slightly better about eating a burger.

Still, both deserve more respect as potential standalone dishes. And this pair of recipes should help that process along.

The first comes from a 2009 Saveur piece on the wonders and mysteries (natch) of iceberg lettuce. Frequently scorned by Americans for being ho-hum, the iceberg's crispy, cold leaves have found wonderful homes in various Asian-inspired dishes. This simple Chinese-style stir fry is just one outstanding application, but Irene Sax's piece includes five others you might want to try.

The second recipe is for Gomen, or sautéed cabbage, and it comes from Mary Ostyn's excellent Family Feasts on $75 a Week cookbook. Four of her ten children are adopted from Ethiopia, and one introduced her new brood to this filling, healthy dish. Even without the hot pepper, we really dug its savoriness and crisp-tender texture.

So, next time you're deciding between four ounces of organic mesclun or a good, ol' fashioned head of greens, go for the big guy. You might be pleasantly surprised.

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