Today is "National Indian Pudding Day" and "National Cafe Au Lait Day." But in Fat City, we're most excited that it's also National Cabbage Day.
Both cabbage and its cousin kohlrabi have been cultivated for more than 2,000 years, and although the cabbage as a cooking staple is closely identified with Ireland, the wild variation of the plant, Brassica oleracea, is a native of the Mediterranean region of Europe.
Jasper Mirabile Jr. of Jasper's Restaurant has eaten cabbage all over Italy, for example.
"You find cabbage dishes mostly in northern Italy," Mirabile says, "less in the south. It's called cavolo there. I've prepared the dish the way I've eaten it there, but it's a winter vegetable for us. I look to boil it very quickly, then saute it in either brown butter or a little olive oil with some pancetta and maybe a little balsamic vinegar reduction."
Mirabile confesses that he doesn't order cabbage in restaurants unless it's St. Patrick's Day, when corned beef and cabbage is often the dish du jour in many local dining spots. But if you can't wait until March 17, there are places in town that serve cabbage every day, including on National Cabbage Day.
5. Navrattan Korma -- "the nine jewels," referring to nine vegetables in the recipe -- is a vegetarian dish offered by many local Indian restaurants, but not all of them include cabbage as an ingredient. Taj Palace at 1706 West 39th Street often includes cabbage in its Navrattan Korma.
4. Atiklett. This delicious vegetarian concoction of potatoes, cabbage and carrots cooked with yellow onion, ginger, garlic and tumeric is featured at the Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant at 20 East Fifth Street in the River Market.
3. Marinated pork and cabbage soup -- at Po's Dumpling Bar at 1715 West 39th Street -- is frequently named as a favorite soup by Fat City readers.
2. Sarme. Restaurateur Lidia Bastianich offers, on her namesake restaurant's lunch menu, these chubby cabbage rolls filled with beef, veal, pork and herbs, braised in sauerkraut and tomato.
1. Corned beef and cabbage. There are plenty of terrific variations on this dish in Kansas City's Irish pubs, but O'Dowd's Little Dublin, with locations at both the Country Club Plaza and Zona Rosa, offers a delicious thick-cut, house-made corned beef served with an English mustard cream sauce and colcannon spuds.