Week Twenty-One: Savoy Cabbage

image_riviera_savoy_cabbageYou know your basic green and purple cabbages right?  So why the Savoy Cabbage?  Well, the contrasting shades of green, combined with the deeply crinkled texture of the leaves, make savoy cabbages gorgeous and while some may look at these rough-looking leaves and assume that they are tough and hard, even more so than the common, green cabbage that most people are used to, but they would be wrong.  Despite this rough appearance, the leaves of the savoy cabbage are tender, even when eaten raw. This makes them an ideal choice for salads, vegetable wraps, or as a bed for rice, fish, or other dishes. This in sharp contrast to the leaves of “green”  or “purple”cabbages, that are hard and rubbery. Their only real use, in the raw state, is in making coleslaw. Even then, the texture can be too tough for many people to enjoy. On the other hand, savoy cabbage can make a tastier, and much more tender coleslaw.
While the tenderness is a huge factor in the appeal of savoy cabbages, over other forms of cabbage, its taste is another reason for its popularity. The green and red cabbages have a slightly bitter taste, which some describe as peppery. Savoy cabbage, by comparison, is milder and sweeter, making it not only a good fit in salads, but also a much preferred alternative in just about any recipe that includes cabbage.
While it’s unclear when and where the headed cabbage that we know today was developed, cultivation of cabbage spread across northern Europe into Germany, Poland and Russia, where it became a very popular vegetable in local food cultures. The Italians are credited with developing the Savoy cabbage.  Sauerkraut, a dish made from fermented cabbage, has a colorful legacy. Dutch sailors consumed it during extended exploration voyages to prevent scurvy. Early German settlers introduced cabbage and the traditional sauerkraut recipe were introduced into the United States. As a result of this affiliation, German soldiers, and people of German descent were often referred to as “krauts.”
Like the rest of the cabbage family, savoy cabbage has high nutritional value. It is very low in calories, and contains no fat or cholesterol. It is a good source of dietary fiber, and protein. It is also rich in many vitamins and minerals, such as: Thiamine (B-1), folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, manganese, calcium, copper, phosphorous, and copper. They are also an excellent source of both Vitamins K and C. Each of the different types of cabbage have high nutritional value, as well as tremendous antioxidant and disease combating properties.


PREP TIME:  Keeping cabbage cold will keep it fresh and help it retain its vitamin C content. Put the whole head in a plastic bag in the crisper of your refrigerator.  Savoy cabbage will keep for about 1 -2 weeks.  Even though the inside of cabbage is usually clean since the outer leaves protect it, you still may want to clean it. Remove the thick fibrous outer leaves and cut the cabbage into pieces and then wash under running water.  To cut cabbage into smaller pieces, first quarter it and remove the core. Cabbage can be cut into slices of varying thickness, grated by hand or shredded in a food processor.


In its simplest form, we love a big pot of sautéed cabbage with just butter, salt and pepper.  Great for those chilly nights.  If you are looking to combine your cabbage for a more exciting meal, check out the recipes below.

SAVOY CABBAGE CHIPS

1 savoy cabbage, cored, leaves separated, small leaves reserved for another use
 salt

Place oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 200°. Working in several batches, cook cabbage leaves in a large pot of boiling salted water just until translucent and bright green, about 2 minutes per batch. Using a large slotted spoon, immediately transfer leaves to a large bowl of ice water; let cool. Drain cabbage leaves well and dry thoroughly.   Set a wire rack inside each of 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Arrange cabbage leaves on racks in a single layer. Bake until completely dry and crisp, about 3 hours. Season with salt.  Cabbage chips can be made 8 hours ahead. Store chips at room temperature loosely layered between parchment paper or paper towels.

 

APPLE, WALNUT AND SAVOY CABBAGE SALAD

1 head Savoy cabbage
2 apples
½ cup walnuts
Pecorino romano cheese (or Parmesan)
⅓ cup olive oil
⅓ cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

For the dressing, whisk together ⅓ cup olive oil, ⅓ cup cider vinegar, 3 tablespoons honey, a few pinches kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper.

If desired, toast the walnuts by placing them in a dry skillet over low heat for several minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly browned and fragrant. Immediately remove from the heat into a bowl.

Thinly slice the savoy cabbage. Core the apples and chop them. (If not eating immediately, sprinkle with a bit of lemon juice.) Using a vegetable peeler, make shavings of Pecorino romano cheese, enough for around ½ cup.

To serve, place savoy cabbage on a serving plate, garnish with apples, walnuts, cheese, and dressing.


MORE SAVOY CABBAGE RECIPES:  Stir-Fried Savoy Cabbage, Savoy Cabbage with Scallions and Garlic, Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage, Colcannon (another of our favorites!), Lemony Toasted Quinoa and Cabbage Salad, Italian Peasant Soup, Spicy Cabbage and Chorizo Soup, Chicken Fajitas with Savoy Cabbage Slaw, Spaghetti with Savoy Cabbage and Bread Crumbs

 

 

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