WITH FLINT-hearted January throwing its weight around, supermarket vegetable bins are by no means the cornucopias of enticements they have been or will be. A look at the heaped-up cabbages and turnips is enough to send some people off in search of frozen peas.

Such surrenders to banality are unwarranted. Treat the winter vegetables right, and they can offer as much eating pleasure as spring's first asparagus tip.

Treating them right means quick cooking in most cases. There's no more excuse for limp, waterlogged winter cauliflower than there is for a summer green bean that's been boiled to the color of Army fatigues.

Treating them right also means recognizing what can be done with them in combination with other vegetables. The simplicity of a three-green salad -- nothing but iceberg lettuce chunks, shredded cabbage and fresh spinach leaves with vinaigrette dressing -- masks marvelous subtleties of flavor and texture difference. The winter salad can also include grated raw turnips or rutabagas or a mix of the two.

Peeled cucumber slices become a new experience, stir-fried with green onions and curly cabbage. Try jerusalem artichokes with mushrooms, spinach and a minced shallot. A tablespoon of olive oil makes this one even better.

And don't overlook the coarse winter greens. Collard, kale and mustard are not limited to the classic ham bone treatment. Mustard greens can make a contribution to a good meal without even being cooked. A few leaves, finely chopped, add pungence to a bland salad. A half pound or so, finely chopped and boiled five minutes in salted water, does wonders for a cooked cauliflower, particularly with anchovy crumbs.

Here are a few other recipes designed to disabuse anybody who thinks winter vegetables begin and end with boiled turnips.


2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced

1 cup watercress, coarsely chopped

1 cup raw red cabbage, shredded

1 clove garlic, minced or crushed

3 tablespoons olive oil

Juice and grated rind 1 lemon

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard

Freshly ground black pepper

Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender but not mushy -- 5 or 10 minutes. Drain and cool. Combine with watercress and red cabbage. In a small bowl, combine garlic and remaining ingredients. Pour over potato mixture and toss.


4 slices bacon

1 pound brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed

1 bunch leeks, washed, trimmed and sliced

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon minced parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cut bacon in 1-inch pieces and fry until crisp. Drain on absorbent paper. Cook brussels sprouts, covered, 5 minutes in boiling salted water. Add leeks and cook 5 minutes more. Drain and place in serving dish. Add bacon and butter to leeks and sprouts. Garnish with parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.


1 red cabbage, shredded

1/2 cup vinegar (white or cider)

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

6 whole cloves

1/4 teaspoon allspice

3 slices bacon

2 medium onions, sliced

Cook cabbage, covered, in vinegar with brown sugar, salt, cloves and allspice until cabbage is tender -- about 10 minutes. Cut bacon into 1-inch pieces and fry with onions, stirring to prevent burning. Add, with pan juices, to undrained cabbage and mix well. Wonderful with pork or duck.

ANCHOVY CRUMBS (Makes 1 cup)

3 anchovy fillets with oil from can

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup bread crumbs, preferably from french bread

Mash anchovy fillets and combine with butter in a skillet. Add bread crumbs, mix well and saute' lightly. Use as garnish for cauliflower, jerusalem artichokes or greens.


1 small green cabbage

1/2 pound hot bulk pork sausage

1/2 pound ground beef 1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 cup cooked rice

1 egg

16-ounce can tomatoes

1 teaspoon sage

1/2 cup yogurt

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Wash cabbage and cut out about an inch of the core, leaving enough so leaves stay together. Cook whole cabbage 5 minutes, covered, in boiling salted water. Drain and cool. When cool enough to handle, turn back leaves. Saute' sausage, ground beef and onion together until lightly browned. Mix with rice and egg. When cool, insert by spoonfuls between cabbage leaves. When all meat mixture has been used, place cabbage in a large pot. Mix tomatoes and sage and pour around cabbage. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Remove cabbage to serving platter. Mix yogurt with tomatoes and pour over cabbage. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.


1/2 pound mustard greens

1 pound spinach

1/4 cup raisins

1 clove garlic, minced or crushed

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup pine nuts

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Wash mustard greens and remove tough stems. Chop coarsely and cook 5 minutes, covered, in 1/2 cup boiling salted water. Wash spinach and add to boiling water along with raisins. Cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside in a warm place. Saute' garlic and pine nuts in olive oil and add to the greens. Season to taste with salt and pepper.