Poor red cabbage. Too often braised, too little loved. It’s an absolute gem and incredibly versatile. But what do we do? We boil it for hours to accompany ham on boxing day then forget about it for another year. (That said, a good braised cabbage with salty ham and an unctuous dollop of dauphinoise is a glorious thing, so let’s not be too disparaging.)
Anyway, my point is that red cabbage is so much more than braising fodder which is why I’ve chosen it for my Hero Harvest this week. (If you missed last week’s blog here’s a recap – I’ve decided to focus on one fruit of veg each week and make it the star of the show on Twitter, Instagram and here on the blog. Good.)
If you’re an enthusiastic grower like me, you too may have got a bit over-excited about red cabbages in the summer and planted a good couple of rows only to realise, come winter, that however much you love red cabbage, a household of two cannot eat more than one red cabbage a week (not without inciting mutiny anyway). Hence why red cabbage is likely to appear on some upcoming supper club menus…
Blessed with such a red cabbage mountain, I’ve been exploring new ways to use them. Here are a few quick things I’ve been enjoying:
- Quick pickled with celeriac and pear then topped with smoked trout (you can find this recipe on my instagram)
- Shredded and mixed with soy sauce, lime and sesame oil for an Asian-y raw slaw
- Shredded and fried in a little butter then tossed through with ham hock chunks and roast potatoes for echos of Boxing Day
They are also, I discover, absolutely incredible when charred on the BBQ or a griddle. Cut into thick slices (if I were M&S I would call them ‘steaks’, but let’s not, eh?), doused in oil then seared until they become blackened and singed reveals a whole new sweetness to them that is utterly addictive. It’s umami-rich and satisfying, a hearty supper for even the most committed carnivore.