Cabbage is often misunderstood. People see it as the Pat Sharpe of the vegetable world – outdated, with no taste and to be avoided at all costs. Now that may be true of the mullet-sporting, back-stabbing (apparently) amateur DJ (who one of my ex-closest chums likened me to the other day – note the ex), but it certainly isn’t the case when it comes to that lovely round green bundle of crunchy sweetness that I have come to love more and more over the last few years.
As with most food, it’s simply a matter of what you do with it that will mean the difference between you offering your friends a pile of vomitous mess and the most beautiful mouthful of goodness they have ever had the pleasure of consuming.
So, here are two ways I’ve used it over the last few weeks – both of which I wholeheartedly recommend you try…
Coleslaw – really decent coleslaw. nothing like the crap from Tesco
This is so easy. all you have to do is finely chop a spring cabbage (see pic above), a fresh red chilli (with the seeds removed) and few spring onions along with a few grated carrots and a handful of raisins. You can also throw in a few cashews if you like. Now you have a choice: You can either go East by adding sesame oil, soy sauce and a little rice vinegar, or you can stay in Europe and go with olive oil, red wine vinegar and plenty of salt and pepper. Either way it’s fantastic with chicken, lamb and pork, and works really well in a wrap with any of the above.
Braised spring cabbage
This is even easier, and it takes no more than a few minutes…
As above, finely chop a spring cabbage and put it into a large saucepan of salted boiling water. Leave it for no more than 2 minutes and then drain it in a sieve and put it back into the saucepan with fresh cold water. drain again and put back into the pan again with freash cold water, so that the cabbage stops cooking completely.
Now leave it until a few minutes before you want to eat, at which point you drain the cabbage and put it to one side, put a big knob of butter in the pan with a couple of finely chopped cloves of garlic and let them soften for a few seconds before putting the cabbage back in and gently cooking in the butter for about 3-4 minutes until it’s warmed through, then season generously. That’s it. Nothing more to see here folks…
If you ever cook a beef stew (see my next post) then you must, must, must have this with it. Consider yourself told.