Cabbage Schnitzel – Капустный шницель

I haven’t written about food here for a while, it seems. I will have to do better, I will really try.

Here’s a quick run for our dinner tonight.

Surprisingly, this dish that my mom made, and I expropriated, got instant popularity among my American born friends and acquaintances. We thought of it as of a ‘last resort” kind of dish – if there’s nothing at home, but a head of cabbage. It takes a bit of time, but is very easy to prepare. Nowadays, when people are much more into vegetables than before, it really seems appropriate to make it more often. I love it!

For a head of regular white cabbage:
2 eggs
A teaspoon of mayonnaise or mustard
A cup of breadcrumbs (I make my own from the leftover Shabbat bread that I make, and so they are whole grain, not plain white, but you can use any breadcrumbs you have)
Salt & pepper to taste
Spices – dried oregano, Aleppo pepper, dried onion flakes – to taste – optional
Olive or other oil for frying

Clean and wash cabbage properly and discard outer leaves. Cut out the core from the head of cabbage, and place it in a pot of salted boiling water. If you want to be extra careful in terms of kashrut, leave the cabbage for 15-20 minutes in a bowl of very salted cold water, and then carefully lift from the bowl, and rinse very well before boiling.

Boil for 3 – 6 minutes depending on how soft you want it and how big the head is. Obviously the bigger the cabbage, the longer the boiling. We like everything al-dente in my house, so a small cabbage is boiled for 3-4 minutes, not more.

While the cabbage is boiling, prepare a bowl and a big plate. Whisk the eggs with a bit of mayo or mustard (this is totally optional; you can use just eggs) in a bowl and put your breadcrumbs together with spices on the plate.

Carefully take the cabbage out into a colander, and let it drain and cool a little bit. Pull the leaves off the cabbage one by one and fold them whichever way you can. This is not the neatest dish, so don’t worry if it’s not too pretty. If the cabbage ‘veins’ are too thick, beat them a bit with a tenderizer or just a rolling pin.

Dip the cabbage pockets into egg, then into the breadcrumbs, and fry on a relatively high fire for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Again – do it by taste. I like really fried pieces with almost burning crumbs of breadcrumbs, but may not. Garnish with some scallions and / or parsley if you wish.

Enjoy hot right away.


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