Sauteed cabbage

This isn't much of a recipe for those of you looking for a lengthy list of ingredients and a long stint at the stove. Sauteed cabbage only calls for two things: butter and cabbage.

But as my mother pointed out, if the ingredients are good, you don't need much more. She discovered the dish at a dinner party, begging the host for her recipe for this warm cabbage salad. With a blush the truth came out. I simply saute it in butter.

I didn't quite believe the story as she relayed it my way. I'd called her for a new coleslaw recipe; cabbage is here to stay, after all, but she'd offered the saute instead. Lacking a fire and hunkered down to face the possibility of an evening frost, I accepted the warming dish with hopeful skepticism.

The burner heated up quickly, spitting butter in the chilled kitchen air. With fat bubbling, I dropped in long thin strips of well-chopped cabbage, and the hearty greens began to melt. They softened into a willowy heap within seconds, and I spooned them onto my plate. A quick grind of salt and a dash of pepper, and I bit in to test their worth.

Rarely have I been so surprised by simplicity. The once-harsh green was now sweet, subtly salty and certainly tender. It had been transformed in an instant into a warm, autumn delicacy so easy and yet so good as to easily take the place of summer salads. For a chilly fall evening, in taste, price, and ease, it's a recipe that can't be beat.


Serves 4-6

Chop 1 green cabbage into long thin strips. Saute in 4 tablespoons butter in a large frying pan. Serve warm with salt and pepper in place of salad.


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sunshine99 said...

This is one of my favorites dishes! I started making it many years ago, using olive oil instead of butter. Now that I don't use any added oil for heart health, I just dry saute and add a bit of water or broth to keep the cabbage shreds from sticking. I put a tiny bit of salt on it while cooking to help draw out some moisture. Glad to know someone else loves this simple dish. The sweetness of a fresh, organic cabbage in season is wonderful to experience. Thanks, Elspeth.

Elspeth said...

Hi Sunshine99,

It's good to hear from a fellow cabbage lover. Tis the season! I'm sorry to hear, though, that you have heart worries. Are you familiar with Nina Planck's writing? I'm a big fan of her book Real Food (http://www.amazon.com/Real-Food-What-Eat-Why/dp/1596913428). It goes over numerous studies on heart and overall health in relation to diet, and provides convincing evidence that consuming traditional fats like olive oil, coconut oil, fatty fish, nuts, avocados, and butter and animal fats from animals fed a traditional diet (think pastured, not grain fed) are not only not detrimental to heart health, but can actually lead to better outcomes. Evidence also suggests that it's relatively new "industrial" fats like the "yellow" oils (canola, safflower, sunflower, corn, soybean, etc), margarine, and vegetable shortening that are doing a tune on our hearts and our LDL, triglycerides, and total cholesterol, along with excess sugars from a variety of sources. It's a great read.

Of course, the good news is that everyone agrees on cabbage:) Recently we've been eating it sauteed, in soups, and fermented into sauerkraut. Yum!

All the best,

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