Gently cooking chopped cabbage in a bit of butter and salt creates a meltingly tender, richly flavored side dish perfect to serve with roast meats of all kinds. Plus, it couldn't be easier. It's one of those the-sum-is-greater-than-it's-parts dishes, for sure. I particularly like to use Savoy cabbage for this dish, but regular green cabbage works just as well.
This recipe is so basic it's really just a method, which makes it ripe for experimentation and customization. Feel free to add herbs (towards the end), spices (with the butter), or other vegetables (with the cabbage) to make this dish your own. Add extra flavor by using chicken stock, vegetable stock, or white wine in place of the water as the braising liquid.
- 1 small head Savoy or green cabbage
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- Fine sea salt to taste
- Remove and discard any beat-up, wilted, or browning leaves from the exterior of the cabbage. Cut the cabbage in quarters, cut out the thick core at the center. You can either discard the core or, do as I do, and slice it very thinly and include it in the mix!
- Chop the cabbage into bite-size pieces (bigger or smaller doesn't matter too much, so don't fret over chopping them evenly for this dish unless you want to).
- Melt the butter in a large frying pan or saute pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted and stopped foaming, add the cabbage, sprinkle it with salt, and add 3 tablespoons of water. Stir to combine, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring the cabbage now and again if you feel like it, until the cabbage is very tender and liquid is completely absorbed, about 20 minutes. If for some reason the cabbage isn't tender but the pan is dry, and another 2 tablespoons of water and continue cooking, adding a tablespoon of water at a time, if necessary, until the cabbage is tender to the bite.
- Season the cabbage to taste with additional salt, if you like, and serve hot or warm.
Again, you can add other elements to switch up the flavor of this dish, most obviously some fresh herbs like parsley or thyme right at the end. Rosemary is lovely, too, just be sure to start by adding very little, since its stronger flavor can easily overwhelm this more delicately flavored dish. A few shavings or gratings of hard cheese, like Parmesan or aged Gouda, when it's served is also a surprisingly tasty addition.