Cabbage or not cabbage ?

Roquette in the patch. Cruciferous at its best!

I know the answer. You not ? Read on!

(Second post about food in two days! Damn right! I am a foodie. A Malagasy foodie.)

Last Sunday, I woke up and had a lovely breakfast during which I caught up with my sis who has just landed a manager position at her job. Since Day 1 in her new role, she uses to return home so late that week-ends have become the only time to see each other. Quality time spent in the kitchen over hot steaming mugs and toasted breads. French toast for her, simple toast for me.

After awhile, time to mind each one’s business, I went handpicking roquette leaves. I had been longing for a roquette salad for some time and Sunday was the day. The leaves. I had to check each of them, whether they are hairy or still young. Had to be careful on this because the thicker the hair, the older the leaves and the stronger the taste. Yet, as I’ve written in the previous post, I prefer my roquette young. Nonetheless, I couldn’t help but chewing some of them, knowing the older leaves would sting my tongue a little bit. I like those moments in the silent, green patch.

That taste in my mouth reminded me of something I know but not that I’m always aware of. That this roquette is of the cruciferous type. Then, a relative of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, pak choi, red cabbage and all those ramirebaka, ti sam, pe tsai, anan-tsonga that abund in Tana markets.

Now, I noticed a while ago that roquette flowers resemble those of radish a lot, except the colour. Radish leaves’ is parme, whilst roquette has white flowers. Still remember my surprise then. Checked twice whether this plant in the patch was really radish’s. Yes, it was. But then, I wondered, roquette, beside being related to cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, etc… is also related to radish and turnip ? Goodness! Yes! Checked my Larousse and found out they’re all of the cruciferous.

Considering broccoli, roquette and all those Chinese cabbages – Sautés! Sautés! Gimme my sautés!- have gone hip lately, guess I cannot be wrong assuming that cabbage is THE new worldwide veg ?

As a Malagasy girl, I’m so used to those ramirebaka, ti sam, pe tsai, anan-tsonga. We use them in our broths (ro, including the famous romazava), or in our many henakisoa sy anana variations. All are of the Chinese cabbage types. Also, cabbage, cauliflower are, often, used in the French cuisine we are familiar to over here. Everyone living on the island is used to those. Then, spending so many years on the Continent, getting acquainted to then-strangers-turned-into-friends; sharing food with them; living with them undoubtedly broadened many spectra: of knowledge, of taste patterns, of habits. In the “veg section” : among other things, I had learnt to prepare and savour broccoli (calls for farfalle, garlic and olive oil), red cabbage (not that a fan of the rotkreutzel though), roquette (best in salad with parmiggiano or just chewed unseasoned!) and Brussels sprouts.

See ? Wherever you are, whether you’re somewhere living it up in a hip fusion restaurant of the Continent, roaming stalls of markets in Asia, being invited to share the house of Malagasy inhabitants, cabbages won’t let you go! Just remember that… or … trust your nose!

My roquette ? I selected the leaves by checking their back, filed them, as usual, into two categories. One, made from young leaves. My roquette salad ! Another one, made from the older ones. I use to add them to lettuce salads. Voilà !

Now, cabbage or not cabbage ? I’ve learnt the answer !


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