Green, white, red, and purple cabbage grow in California fields year-round. But at Tamai Family Farms, Gloria Tamai says the winter cabbages, in season now at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, taste the sweetest. Tamai says the cooler temperatures of January and February allow more time for the natural sugars in the plants to develop. She encourages her customers to give cabbages they’re considering buying a light squeeze to make sure they are firm and not mushy.
Superba chef James Trees counts himself among the stalwart fans of cabbage. At Superba’s Venice restaurant, chefs dress shredded green cabbage with red wine vinaigrette and serve the slaw in a fried chicken sandwich, Bakesale Betty-style. Before he perfected the coleslaw recipe, Trees made a special trip to the tiny Oakland soul food joint to find out what was missing. The secret ingredients, he determined after tasting the Bakesale Betty slaw, were sweet onions marinated in vinegar.
Trees is also stocking up on red cabbage to make an Austrian braised cabbage dish for the Tehachapi Grain Project Dinner at Superba on February 23. Chefs Bruce Kalman, Charles Olalia and David LeFevre will also be cooking for the seven-course dinner benefit. All proceeds will support the Tehachapi Grain Project, which aims to bring back heritage grains to Southern California farms.
Superba’s Cabbage Slaw
Yield: Makes 4 cups
Cabbage Slaw Ingredients
3 cups green cabbage
½ cup julienned carrot
½ cup sliced red onions
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 cup Red Wine Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Note: This cabbage slaw can last in the fridge for up to 4 hours.
Superba’s Red Wine Vinaigrette
1½ cup olive oil
1½ cup canola oil
1 cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup dijon mustard
¼ cup whole grain mustard
2 shallots, sliced
3 tbsps sea salt
1 tbsp fresh black pepper, ground
Combine the vinegar, mustards and shallots in a blender. Purée and drizzle in the canola oil. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.