Boiled cabbage creates a smell that haunts the kitchen after the meal is over. But it doesn’t have to. Cabbage makes a wonderful side dish that compliments the main dish without playing the second fiddle. The method of cooking can bring out the nuance of this misaligned vegetable without the odor of old laundry. Better yet, Southern-fried cabbage is healthy and low in calories.
The peppery bite of raw cabbage melts into a sweet crunch that works with other dishes. Cooked correctly, it is a great side dish for hearty dishes where you just want something with a little crunch and mellow flavor.
Cabbages come in many varieties. There are red cabbages which are purple in color but taste identical to green cabbage, savoy cabbages that have lacy wrinkled leaves and a milder taste, Napa cabbage which has thick white ribs and wrinkled pale green leaves on the ends and a much more delicate flavor and texture than either savoy cabbage or green cabbage. And then we get into the Chinese cabbages which each have their own characteristics and uses. Regardless of what type of cabbage your recipe calls for, pick a cabbage head that is heavy in weight. Some grocers remove the outer leaves when they start to get limp and floppy. So look for full heads that have tight leaves. Check for holes in the leaves (that means some kind of insect may have burrowed into the head).
Raw cabbage holds up well to dressings and is the base for coleslaw. Whole cabbage leaves are used as the wrapper in cabbage rolls. Cabbage has a peppery bite that mellows and gets sweeter as it cooks. While boiling cabbage is a popular old world method of cooking, it is too easy to overcook which turns it onto a stinky mush. Instead, try stir-frying it or a combination of sautéing and then steaming until the pieces are fork-tender. This creates a dish with bright green pieces that are flavorful to eat. Add some onion and seasoning and you have a wonderful side dish. Plan on 1/8 of a head of cabbage per person, and remember that as the cabbage is cooked, the quantity reduces to about half.
How to Cut a Whole Cabbage
- Remove loose or limp leaves from the cabbage.
- Cut the cabbage in half, and then cut each half again to create 4 wedges that have a piece of the core.
- Cut the core out of each quarter (making sure the leaves are still connected).
- Continue cutting each quarter into the desired size pieces.
A simple vegetable side dish that is full of flavor, simple to prepare and compliments beautifully hearty main dishes.
- 1 head green cabbage, cut into shreds
- 1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons Cajun Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- In a large saute pan, heat the butter over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until the onion pieces are translucent.
- Add cabbage, cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper and stir well.
- Cook for 5-7 minutes or until cabbage turns bright green and is tender.
- Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve warm.