Thursday, September 25, 2008

Elevating Cabbage on the Menu

I always associated cabbage with poverty. You know, a thin gruel of cabbage cooked in water. I’ve never made corned beef and cabbage. I don’t really like coleslaw. So I’m sure I’ve never bought a cabbage, any more than I had ever bought okra or beets.

In last week's CSA crate was a light green baby head of cabbage, not one of those rubbery soccer ball size things you see in the grocery store. It had languished in my produce drawer until yesterday when I determined to figure out what to do with it.

Instead of Googling for cabbage recipes, I decided to just put some things together that seemed like they might belong together. I wanted a faint taste of fennel and a little kick to my young cabbage.

Here’s an approximation of the recipe:

Lemon-infused olive oil
½ large red onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 strip of lean bacon, cut into small pieces (inspired by Lemmonex)
Fennel seeds
Small cabbage, coarsely chopped/shredded
Fennel dill, clipped into small pieces
Chicken broth
Borsari salt (or any kind of salt)
Red pepper flakes
Splash of good Balsamic vinegar

In a large anodized pan, saute the onion and garlic in a small amount of olive oil over medium high heat for several minutes. Move the onion and garlic to the side. Put the bacon and some fennel seeds in the center. When the bacon is mostly cooked, add the cabbage. Stir until it is wilted. Add clipped dill, a small amount of chicken broth, and seasoning. Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes or until cabbage is thoroughly cooked. Add Balsamic vinegar and stir until all ingredients are completely mixed. Serve hot or cold.

We had a simple meal of grilled salmon steaks, the cooked cabbage, and baked sweet potatoes. The cabbage was the best part of the meal. In fact in was outrageously good. Never again will I belittle these little green heads of goodness. I’m hoping for another cabbage in this week’s CSA crate.


Blogger Lemmonex said...

Oh, looks fab. I need to do more stuff with cabbage myself. Thanks for the inspiration!

9:19 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

I actually really LIKE cabbage -- though I don't eat much of it. This is motivating, as Lemmonex said!

11:09 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

How fun! I just made a simple lemon coleslaw that was more of a lemony cabbage salad than slaw. Good but not nearly as creative as yours!

11:54 AM  
Blogger bulletholes said...

I have fallen in love with Coleslaw this year. I like it kinda sweet, without too much mayonaise. I buy it premade, but I wonder how it would taste if I used a little Rice vinegar instead of White on it, like I did when i used to make apple-fennel slaw.

I like STuffed Cabbage leaves too

12:07 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Lemmonex -- Your recipes always eclipse the lowly cabbage. Culinary Couture is a class act!

Steve -- Filing that away. Cabbage on the menu in November...

Kristin -- I'm convinced I like cabbage cooked a lot more than I like it raw. It takes on a whole new flavor and consistency.

Bulletholes -- What is a good chef like you doing BUYING coleslaw?! Now apple-fennel slaw sounds fantastic. And I will definitely try stuffed cabbage if indeed another little head appears on Saturday.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

you are so willing to try things - what a wonderful attitude to have! Look at all the things you've been missing that you no longer have to do without. I love shredded cabbage and apple slices sauteed in a smidgeon of butter as an accompaniment to thin slices of roasted pork, or the two can cook in the juices in the roasting pan if butter is not on your list of things to eat...

5:25 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Okay...... this recipe is a keeper. Am having folks for T'giving and I will add this to the menu! I LOVE cabbage!


6:47 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

It sounds good except for the bacon and chicken broth...I could use vegetable broth, but what could I substitute for the bacon?

-Interested Vegetarian Friend-

8:46 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- I can imagine that cabbage would pair well with apples and roast pork. We don't eat much pork in this house (despite my solitary strip of bacon in the recipe), but I could just do the cabbage and apples and I could use a little olive oil to placate my lactose-intolerant mate.

Kate -- Yes, I think it would be a good T'giving side dish.

Elizabeth -- Leave out the bacon and use vegetable broth. It's the fennel seeds that give it the flavor.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

This recipe looks really good.

I love stuffed cabbage rolls too, Bulletholes! Lots of work, but worth it! I haven't made them in a month of Sundays... maybe this week!

My friend, Claudia and I traveled through the South and ordered cole slaw with every meal. I like it sweet, she likes it savory. However it was made... was the winner of the meal! :::grin::: We also ordered every buttermilk pie we came across, but that is another story!

3:01 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kelly -- Maybe I was too quick to write off coleslaw!

7:21 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

MMMMM - me likey cabbage muchly! Glad to see you are on board.

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

may I ask which csa you belong to? i'm looking for a good csa in the falls church/nova region.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Gary -- For me it's all about how it's prepared.

Anon -- We belong to the CSA sponsored by Food Matters in Alexandria. It's located where the old Cameron Station used to be on Duke Street.

10:52 PM  
Blogger lettuce said...

that sounds great barbara!

we have cabbage a lot, but my two aren't keen on it, so i often fry it with olive oil, balsamic vinegar etc.
It does tart up quite nicely!

8:40 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

Cabbage is a great food. Needs to be prepared with pepper and some fat (well, I like it that way).

Happy New Year!

8:31 PM  

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