I’VE EATEN CABBAGE QUITE A FEW TIMES, BUT ENJOYED IT EXACTLY TWICE. The first delicious cabbage I ate was many years ago when a friend with Irish roots (and her own Grandma Curley, just like I had) spent a full Saturday making “Boiled Dinner” for St. Patrick’s Day.
Despite my own fairly Irish roots, I’d never heard of Boiled Dinner and certainly didn’t realize what a drizzle of malted vinegar could do to boiled cabbage. We ate at her teeny tiny table, the kind with two flap extensions, in her teeny tiny Brooklyn apartment. And it was wonderful. But so is this one, and best of all, it doesn’t take hours to make.
Even though my friend Jen cooked a mean boiled cabbage all those years ago, I’d actually seen Ina Garten (of course) make a sauteed version around the same time. She ooohed and ahhhed over it for the camera but I remained unconvinced. Until recently, when I kept seeing something that changed my tune, particularly since I’m cooking for a family now: cabbage is shockingly good for you. So when I saw it all over the Durham Farmer’s Market this winter, I had to pick up a head.
The recipe is simple and a lot like carmelized onions. Slice the cabbage thinly, then saute it in a pan with butter, olive oil, salt and pepper. The longer you do it, the better and richer the flavor will be. On that note, I loved this cabbage. The kids did not. Paul did not. Everybody tried it, fairly eagerly so, but only ate a few bites in the end. Next time I’ll definitely keep it on the pan a little longer and also add olive oil. The original recipe doesn’t call for oil but it’s a wonderful thing to add for the sake of all those omega acids, but at least as importantly, I think the flavor will make fresh cabbage more rich, and everyone will want more. At least I will.
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Sauteed Cabbage recipe
I used a whole head of cabbage but I think this would work just as well with a bag of pre-shredded cabbage from the store.
- 1 small head of cabbage (about 2 pounds) or half a larger head
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Slice cabbage as thinly as possible, trying to keep all the pieces uniform so they cook evenly. Slowly heat a very large frying pan with oil and butter. Add shredded cabbage in stages, stirring and trying to coat every piece of cabbage. Add salt and pepper, then cook down on medium heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. My recommendation: Serve with bacon-wrapped pork and bright green spinach salad.