Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mange le cabbage

Cabbage isn't sexy. It's used for terrible sadistic diets. Lent its name to an interesting children's programme in the 80s with very ugly characters. If I called you a cabbage, it wouldn't be a compliment. Even the word is a bit ugly, like it could be an inventive swear word. You cabbage.

It's thoughts like that that make this a bit of an underchampioned vegetable. But things can change - look at broccoli - ten years ago it was an ugly sprouty veg that was often chopped up, boiled to death and served limply with a few token carrots next to your meat. And now? It's a veritable va va voom of vegginess - soupy, quiched, steamed and served with soy, it's everywhere. I predict the same fate for cabbages. You heard it here first.

Moving swiftly on, cabbage was the basis of my very filling and tasty lunch. If this doesn't have you grubbing around the back of the fridge looking for the one you bought at Christmas with a vague intention of making a coleslaw, well, you're a right cabbage. Beware though, it does take patience. Once that caramelizing smell gets into your nostrils, you're going to have a battle on your hands not bashing it all onto a plate and gobbling it right there, but persevere, it's worth it.

Caramelized cabbage and onion with creme fraiche

1 small red cabbage
1/2 savoy cabbage
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tsp sugar
Sprig rosemary
Italian seasoning herbs
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar.

Chop up the cabbage and onion into medium slices. Put into a pan with the rosemary sprig, Italian herbs, butter and olive oil and place on a low fire. Leave for 40-45 minutes, stirring occassionally to stop from sticking.

When the cabbage and onion are 'lifeless' i.e. very soft, add the balsamic vinegar, Maple syrup and sugar. Stir well. Leave for another 20-25 minutes while stirring until the sauce has reduced to a thick, sticky coating. Take off the fire and serve with a dollop of creme fraiche on top.


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