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.
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.