The salad is warm (like cozy fattening food, but not),
The salad has some carbs (that make me feel like I'm being bad without being bad),
The salad has a lot of flavor (enough to squelch my feeling of depravity.)
Meet such a salad:
Warm Napa Cabbage w/Black Rice
AND, if ya wanna pump up the zing: Add a few Salt & Pepper Shrimp
This month's Veggie pick for the Beet n' Squash You event (organized by Mel/ Gourmet Fury and Leela/ She Simmers) is Napa Cabbage, sometimes known as Chinese White Cabbage. It's so versatile and packed with good things for your body that you almost can't go wrong with the preparation. Napa Cabbage can be braised, grilled, sauteed, chopped raw, sliced and slivered for slaw, steamed and wrapped around fish, and pickled.
Selfishly, I wanted it several ways at once. Yes, I have an issue with commitment to one idea (it has cost me a lot of money to be able to say that out loud.) That's not my only issue, of course, but that's a whole other kind of blog.
Back to the Napa at hand: Aren't these the most beautiful stalks of lacy leaves in the cabbage world?
For this salad, begin prep by washing and drying the separate leaves. Then cut the white stalks away from the leaves. Keep the leafy part for making a raw leaf bowl around the salad, later. To make a salad that serves four; cut 2 cups of sliced up stalk.
Combine the sliced stalks with 1 med. sliced onion. Heat a Saute Pan with a 1Tbls. of oil and add the onions and cabbage stalks. Season with salt and pepper and cook on low/med until slightly caramelized. Add 6-8 sliced mushrooms to the pan and continue cooking til wilted. It's optional, but really adds some bite to throw in a dash of Sriracha (Chinese Chili Sauce.)
While these are slow cooking, start the Black Rice. This can be made according to directions that come with your purchase of Chinese Black Rice, but also I used Vegetable stock instead of water or Chicken Stock. Drain the rice, fluff with a fork and keep warm.
When all components are ready, toss together and season to taste.
Use the leafy ends of the left-over Napa Cabbage to make a small bowl on a plate to contain the Warm Rice Salad.
For the Salt & Pepper Shrimp: Use peeled, whole shrimp tossed in just a bit of cornstarch with large granule salt and ground pepper. Saute in a pan with 1 Tbls. hot oil for about 3 minutes on each side. Add a few of these to the top and garnish with minced cucumber.
The raw Napa leaves make a great palate cleanser after the warm rice is gone from your plate.
For other fabulous ideas using Napa Cabbage, click here to see the Beet n' Squash You Hall of Fame. You're also welcome to join us for next month!