Thursday, February 7, 2013

Asian Noodle and Cabbage Salad with Caramelized Pork

It's really amazing to me how many different food traditions use cabbage. It's fermented from Korea (kimchi) to Germany (sauerkraut) and stir-fried, slow-cooked, sauteed, baked, and eaten raw everywhere in between. With all the cabbage my CSA provided, I had ample opportunity to try all the cuisines and cooking methods my heart desired. So I stir-fried, braised, ate it raw, and filled my tacos with it, mixing it up as much as possible so my palate wouldn't get burnt out one preparation. Pork and cabbage is a classic German combination, rich and hearty pork chops or sausage nestled in a generous portion of slow-cooked, tender cabbage and a comforting favorite. This recipe, though using the same two key ingredients, is it's polar opposite, fresh and crunchy cabbage with lean stir-fried pork that satisfies in a totally different way. Both the dressing for the cabbage and the pork marinade have the perfect balance of sweet and savory that is so addictive and makes this taste like bad-for-you takeout when it's really a quick and healthy meal. (And the leftovers aren't a bad cold midnight snack, either.) Whether you're in a rush to put dinner on the table, in the mood for takeout but short on time, or just have some cabbage to use up, this recipe is a brilliant solution.

Asian Noodle and Cabbage Salad with Caramelized Pork
adapted from Martha Stewart
serves 2

4 ounces soba or whole wheat spaghetti noodles
2 tablespoons soy or tamari sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 recipe Caramelized Asian Pork (recipe follows)
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
Sriracha, or other hot sauce, for serving (optional)

1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook noodles according to package instructions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine soy sauce, vinegar, oil, sugar, garlic, and ginger.

2. Drain noodles, transfer to bowl with soy mixture and toss. Add pork, scallions, and cabbage and toss to combine. Add hot sauce, if using, and serve.

Caramelized Asian Pork
adapted from Food and Wine
serves 2

2 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
8 ounces pork chops or cutlets, cut into bite-size pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Combine garlic, soy sauce, sugar and oil in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add pork to the marinade and turn to coat the pork. Let stand at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes.

2. Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add the pork and cook, stirring frequently, until pork is cooked through.

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