Braised baby savoy cabbage

by | Jul 29, 2008

As my trip to the Farmers’ Market on Saturday was winding down, my attempt to avoid making any more purchases was thwarted when a glistening pile of baby savoy cabbages caught my eye. You should have seen these things, they were absolutely adorable. Most were no bigger than a lemon, and they have such bright green, crinkly leaves they look as though they could blossom into one of those Cabbage Patch dolls I had as a child. I bought five or six of the small heads and have been thinking about what to do with them ever since.

Tonight I decided I would try braising them. I’ve never braised anything, and part of me wonders if I really know what braising is. Luckily for us all, Wikipedia knows everything.

Normally cabbage is shredded into strips before braising, but I wanted to try and maintain the beautiful appearance of this vegetable so I opted to cut them in half instead. In a hot pan with shimmering olive oil I threw in one diced leek, added the cabbage halves face down and salted liberally with fresh ground sea salt.

I seared the faces of the cabbage for a few minutes until they were slightly browned. I then added mirin (a sweet Japanese cooking wine), about 3/4 cup of water and a sprinkle of shichimi (a Japanese 7-spice chili mixture I found this weekend at Rainbow Grocery). I read about these two exotic ingredients when I was learning about how to make udon in my favorite soup book, so I was excited that I found them and curious how they would taste. The mirin is very thick and sweet, great for cooking; the shichimi is savory, has a slight sesame taste and not too spicy.

I also wanted to add the crimini mushrooms I bought this weekend at Rainbow, but they were already moldy. So sad, last time I make that mistake. But I still needed something with a creamy texture to counteract the soft, sweet cabbage. I decided to add a few of the garbanzo beans I made the night before in the pressure cooker (I made Indian food yesterday, curried okra and chickpeas). Eureka!

I simmered the veggies 20 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally. I had to add more liquid after about 10 minutes. In the mean time I boiled some soba noodles, sticking with the Japanese theme. Soba noodles are made of buckwheat, so they are much healthier than most other kinds of noodles. Of course I only made a tiny amount to give the dish substance.

I stirred my creations together for a delicious, healthy dinner!

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2 Responses to “Braised baby savoy cabbage”

  1. pouty_bob says:

    hi, are you the person in line next to me at the dirty girl stand at the ferry building… telling me how great the cabbages were and how you braised them..?Tom

  2. Darya Pino says:

    Indeed I am. Welcome to Food Life 🙂

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