Friday, February 15, 2008

Cabbage, Two Ways

I've always been a fan of the cabbage family. I even had a cabbage family of my own in the 4th and 5th grade. One little girl Cabbage Patch Kid named Angelina Alberta (whose name I changed — but I won't say to what), and my dear little "preemie" Roy Len. I loved those two kids until mildew grew on their cloth limbs. Then, instead of hugging and kissing members of the cabbage family, I started eating them. And I haven't stopped.

Brussels sprouts are still my favorites. From steamed with lemon and butter, to roasted with olive oil and lots of salt, to the magnificent cream braised recipe from Molly Stevens' All About Braising, which will make any Brussels hater into a Brussels inhaler.

Molly Stevens' book is chock-full of wonderful braised vegetable recipes. One of my other favorites is her Braised Cabbage with Saint-Marcellin Cheese. It's pure decadence, and perfect along side some roast chicken during these cold winter months.

Another cabbage recipe I love is from Marcella Hazan's Marcella Says'. It's a raw cabbage salad which is obviously much lighter than Stevens', yet equally satisfying. While I'm the first to admit I've only tried a handful of recipes from Hazan's book, this recipe stood out for its simplicity and ease. So while Angelina and Roy have been sent along to Cabbage (Patch) Heaven, these two recipes should be titled, ahem: Heavenly Cabbage.

Savoy Cabbage Gratin with Saint-Marcellin Cheese
(from Molly Stevens' All About Braising)
3T. unsalted butter
1 head Savoy cabbage, cored, halved, and cut into 1/2" shreds
1 bunch scallions, greens and whites, cut into 1/2" pieces
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 ripe Saint-Marcellin cheese

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a large gratin dish. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add cabbage and scallions, season with salt and pepper and saute, stirring often, until the cabbage is just beginning to brown in spots, 10 to 12 minutes. Pour in the stock, and bring to a steady simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan, and cook for about 2 minutes.

Scrape the cabbage, scallions, and all the juices into the gratin dish. Cover tightly with foil, slide onto the middle rack of the oven, and braise for 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated, another 20 minutes.

Cut or tear the cheese into small lumps (about 1/2") and scatter them across the gratin. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees and cook until the cheese is thoroughly melted, about 10 minutes. Serve hot or warm as a first course, side dish or on its own as a light supper.

Savoy Cabbage Salad with Avocado
(from Marcella Hazan's Marcella Says...)

3 to 4 cups shredded Savoy cabbage (I've also used red cabbage, shredded finely)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed with the flat part of a heavy knife blade
1/2 large ripe avocado or 1 small, peeled and cut into thin strips
Fine sea salt*
1 1/2 T wine vinegar
2 T extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper ground fresh from the mill.

Put all the ingredients in the salad bowl, toss thoroughly, and let stand at room temperature for 30 to 40 minutes (or longer). Remove the garlic cloves and serve at room temperature.

* I do think sea salt makes a difference here. Maldon entered my life recently and will never leave it.


Deborah Dowd said...

Both of these sound like a great way to eat more cabbage, which is so good for you!

Elizabeth said...

Maldon rocks. But have you tried the Welsh stuff, Halen Mon? You can get it smoked, which is so delicious it's hard to resist eating it out of hand...

Elizabeth said...

oh and ps, mine was named "Miriam Tabitha," which I thought was pretty heinous. I guess Xavier Roberts ran out of inspiration...

Jennifer said...

I just bought my first box of Maldon. mmmm, both recipes sound delicious but the gratin recipe seems especially good - indeed heavenly.

~~louise~~ said...

What a wonderful selection of cabbage recipes and tidbits, Rebecca. I hope you don't mind that I "borrowed" your link for World Cabbage Day on my blog

Thanks for sharing...