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Cabbage -- plan a head for good health


It's salad season, and sweet, peppery and redheaded is the way to be, especially if we're talking cabbage.

Red cabbage is high in sulforaphane, which has been found to stimulate enzymes that guard against tumors. It's high in vitamin C as well.

At the market, choose red cabbages that are compact and heavy for their size, with bright, crisp leaves. At home, wrap the whole head in paper towels, then in a paper bag, and store it in the crisper section of your refrigerator.

Caribe Crudites

Serves 6

4 cups slivered red cabbage

2 Belgian endives, rinsed and very thinly sliced crosswise

2 ripe large tomatoes, thinly sliced

1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

1 cup diced ( 1/4 -inch) ripe cantaloupe

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves, plus 6 small sprigs

Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Cover bottoms of 6 dinner plates with red cabbage. Sprinkle endive over the cabbage and arrange tomato and cucumber on top. Just before serving, drizzle vegetables evenly with vinaigrette. Sprinkle cantaloupe and chopped mint on top of the salads and garnish with mint sprigs.

Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette

1/4 red bell pepper, roasted

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon sugar

dash salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine roasted red pepper, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in a food processor; pulse on and off until the pepper is smoothly pureed. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the oil through the feed tube and process until the oil is incorporated and the vinaigrette is slightly thickened.

Note: To roast peppers, place whole peppers on baking sheet. Broil, turning frequently, until skin is blistered or charred. Place peppers in bowl and cover tightly. Let stand for about 15 minutes, or until cooled. Slip peel off. Use as desired (don't wash the peppers; you'll wash the smoky flavor away).

-- Adapted from "All Around the World Cookbook," by Sheila Lukins (Workman, $19)

Per serving: calories, 80.7; protein, 1.77 grams; carbohydrates, 9.24 grams; total fat, 4.93 grams; cholesterol, 0 milligrams; saturated fat, .682 grams; dietary fiber, 2.2 grams; sodium, 17.5 milligrams; sugar, 6.29 grams; vitamin A, 1.8 retinol equivalents; vitamin C, 49 milligrams; calcium, 39 milligrams; iron, .828 milligrams.

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