A Big-Hearted Vegetable

The things you grow yourself have the advantage of being wonderfully imperfect—by which I mean perfectly odd, personal, and endearing. This cabbage, for example, is an heirloom called Early Jersey Wakefield. It shot up fast, then possibly got too much water … then maybe got too little? No matter what happened, it grew with an enlarged core and an oddly spacious structure. When I cut into it I was faced with the most open-hearted cabbage I’ve ever seen.

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I chopped it roughly and fried it fast and hot in my wok in a little butter, a little oil, a handful of minced ginger, and then a few thin disks of jalapeno, just loose change. There’s hardly a recipe to report here, as the important thing is to watch the transformation of the vegetable itself: when it hit the hot pan it crumpled after a few minutes, picked up some nutty brown scuff from the bottom of the pan, perspired a little buttery juice but retained its youthful texture—firm, almost dense with water—and its natural sweetness.

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