Here we are with another special ‘recipe’ because I just came back from my dad where we got to eat some fresh cabbage sprouts and it was delicious!
The hunger gap
When living in London, I learned about the expression ‘hunger gap’ which refers to the end of winter / beginning of spring when, on one side, fresh crops are not yet available and, on the other side, stored produces are becoming scarce.
When going to the supermarket, you might not feel the hunger gap is a thing, as tomatoes and strawberries have probably already appeared on the shelves, but in local fields, the story is different!
At the time, going back to my parent’s place for Easter made me realize that it wasn’t just a British problem! My dad’s garden which is so green and full, a little later during the year, is usually mostly empty in March and April. And indeed, the winter vegetables are scarce: Leeks are almost all gone, the carrots are not great looking, the zucchinis, squashes and pumpkins are a thing of the past…
The first salads are coming out but might get wiped out by the morning frost. The first early potatoes are getting planted but won’t come out before May or maybe even June, I’m not quite sure. And yes, the tomatoes are being taken care off tenderly, but are still tiny baby plants!
However, thankfully, this is also the time when cabbages are sprouting!
Not talking about Brussels sprouts here, I’m referring to big cabbages! Really big ones!
The tree collard sprouts
Clearly I know nothing about cabbages… Let’s try this anyway…
My dad has ‘regular’ cabbages. Cabbages that are usually grown to feed animals during winter but he keeps them just for the sprouts! These may be walking stick cabbage or jersey cabbage or maybe tree collard, I don’t know! They are something like that! These do grow super tall and apparently the stem is so hard that once dried out, it can be used as a walking stick, hence the little name. Haven’t tried that bit yet!!
Anyway, I’ve never eaten the actual leaves, although now I’m tempted, but I have eaten the sprouts!!
These cabbages sprout toward the end of March and we therefore just had our first harvest!
If you wish to know everything there is to know about collard green, do pay a visit to www.projecttreecollard.org. She knows everything there is to know!
Cabbage sprouts preparation
How to prepare such cabbage sprouts does not require a whole paragraph. But here we are any way.
My dad put them in the pressure cooker for 3 minutes. However, I don’t think they require that long and I would think that steaming might be better. And by the way, blanching them might be enough if you are going to sauté them anyway!
But then again, my dad is not always the best at respecting timing with his pressure cooker. He goes off to do something else and comes back proclaiming it has been 3 minutes when it might have been 5 or more!
So all in all, if you get your hands on some cabbage sprouts, I think you’ll need to try out for yourself what is best. But start on the low because these sprouts are much more tender and sweet than the rest of the plant!
You do need a fair quantity of sprouts, if these are going to be the main ingredient of your dish. They don’t shrink like baby spinach, but they do shrink a little.
Sautéed cabbage sprouts recipe
Heat the pan, toss some onion and garlic in, if you wish, maybe some Japanese tofu filet and some chestnuts. Season and cook these a bit before adding the already prepared cabbage sprouts. Sautée them and tada!
Yes, the shortest recipe you’ve ever read! Maybe? Probably… #NotaFoodBlogger
OK, so I added chestnuts as I felt this was the last reasonable time I could eat them, before next Autumn. Some roasted chickpeas would do wonder instead. I definitively would add something of the sort, to add some crunchiness.
Tofu? 100% yes. Something else? I guess it is possible.
More recipe ideas!
Once prepared and cooled of, the cabbage sprouts are delicious simply prepared as a salad. They can be served warm or cold with just a Vinaigrette, maybe with some minced shallot and sprinkled with nuts. If this wasn’t clear yet, I do add nuts everywhere!
Cabbage sprouts served as a salad is the most common way to eat them, in the Mediterranean region at least (apparently).
They can also be baked with maybe, slices of seitan & apples and dressed with your best version of vegan bechamel.
Basically, I think the hardest part is to find the cabbage sprouts… not to cook them!