The fall Greenmarket teems with cabbage of all sorts: tiny compact heads, long-leaved Asian varieties, and those frilly oversize marvels, unfurled in O’Keeffe-ian splendor. Cooked, the plant makes a satisfying cold-weather food, but we might like it even better in Hecho en Dumbo chef Danny Mena’s crunchy, piquant salad, given a south-of-the-border flavor profile with queso fresco, a squeeze of lime, and crumbled hibiscus flowers.
Danny Mena’s Ensalada Rosaura
1 small or 1/2 large cabbage
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1/4 lb. queso fresco (available at most Mexican bodegas including Zaragoza, 215 Ave. A, nr. 13th St.)
3 tbs. Champagne vinegar
3 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste
10 dried hibiscus flowers (see queso fresco source above)
1/2 avocado, sliced
Cut cabbage in quarters and (1) remove the core. (2) Slice the cabbage into thin shreds. In a large bowl, combine cabbage with sliced onion. Crumble the cheese over the salad and toss with Champagne vinegar, olive oil, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand for 2 to 3 hours or refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve: Fry the hibiscus flowers in a little olive oil; allow to cool. (3) Crumble fried hibiscus flowers over salad and garnish with sliced avocado. Serves four.