I love brassicas. What are brassicas you ask? Maybe you’re more familiar with their other name–crucifers. No? More commonly, these vegetables are simply known as the cabbage family and are some of the most nutrient dense foods available to us. Chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, they are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and cancer-fighting super powers.
But that’s not why I like them. I like them because they are just darn delicious. Remember Grandmother boiling a huge head of cabbage in a pot, stinking up the whole house in the process? I’m happy to report that those days are O V E R. Brassicas are so much more than a globby pile of pale green mush. They are bright and vibrant. They are pleasingly bitter and colorful on the palate. And they are, quite honestly, some of the best tasting foods one can put in their pie hole (besides pie).
But we need to know how best to prepare these lovely greens from the garden. Enter my friend Laura B. Russell–esteemed cookbook author and authority on all things brassica. Her first book, Gluten-free Asian Kitchen, was among my first gluten-free cookbooks in my ever-growing collection–and its oily, sticky pages are proof positive that it gets much use. So when I heard she was writing a cookbook about my favorite veg I couldn’t wait to get it.
Her book, appropriately named Brassicas, is a collection of recipes that really makes these cruciferous vegetables shine. Divided into chapters according to type, Laura shares her best tips for choosing, storing and preparing each type of brassica. Kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, leafy greens, Asian and root brassicas all get her special treatment. She shares recipes for pizza, braises, bakes, and salads. There are soups, frittatas, roasts, and sauces. The book is comprehensive and creative. The recipes are interesting–and none too difficult that I wouldn’t attempt it on a weeknight. And it is peppered throughout with gorgeous photographs.
Today I’m featuring one of her recipes…and also doing a giveaway of her book. I think you’ll find that Laura’s creative ways with brassicas will make a believer out of even the greatest skeptics.
- 2 tablespoons canola oil or coconut oil (divided)
- 1 tablespoon peeled, minced fresh ginger
- 1½ pounds baking potatoes (about 2), peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
- 1 small head of cauliflower, cored and cut into bite-size florets (about 4 cups)
- 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt (divided)
- 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno chile
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons water
- ½ cup shelled green peas, thawed if frozen (I didn't have any and left them out)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Put a large (12 inches or wider), deep frying pan, preferably nonstick, over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons of the oil and the ginger and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the potatoes, stir to coat with the oil, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes, until the potatoes start to soften.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the cauliflower, and ½ teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in the chile, coriander, turmeric, cumin, and the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt. Add the water, cover the pan, and then turn down the heat to low. Simmer for 5-8 minutes more, until the potatoes and cauliflower are tender. Stir in the peas and cook for about 2 minutes, until heated through. Taste and add additional salt if needed. Stir in the cilantro just before serving. Serve hot or at room temperature.