Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cabbage and Wind

Its bad enough when the country's economic news is depressing to the extreme, but coupled with a weather assault like this mornings, which would 'skin ye' as they might say in the north, it makes for doom and gloom like nothing else.

It is cold, wet and down right miserable here and with tomorrow being just a day shy of the first of April, things will have to change or I am out of here!

So, just as I thought that we might be done with warm dinners and maybe edging our way towards springtime salads and dare I say it, possibly lighting the barbecue, what happens, well the snow, rain and biting wind start again with what seems like more ferocity than we can actually remember.

This recipe, although I am not sure I can call it that, is a prayer to spring, begging for its fresh, green return - immediately.

Cabbage is one of those vegetables which I am sure I absolutely despised as a child, so much so, that my mother did not cook it very often for us and it was relegated, probably in my memory only, into one of those things which were nearly, but not worse than, boiled mince (ie. minced beef boiled with no seasoning) or semolina with tinned prunes.

I think that cabbage gets bad press generally due to the fact that boiling it makes it tender and releases sugars and therefore an aroma. However, boiling it to death, which seemed to happen a lot in many a convent and convalescent kitchen across Ireland, lead to the characteristic 'cabbage' aroma and the well known adage that it causes flatulence. As I found out, this is not the case.

This evening, I simply peeled away the firm thick curly leaves from the outside of a beautiful savoy cabbage, and continued to do so all the way in, until the leaves become flimsy, have less body and, therefore, bite.

Rinse off any grit which might be trapped in the little craters and place them in a steamer and steam for 5-6 minutes.
I could eat these on their own with a large knob of butter and some sea salt flakes. Sweet, slightly crunchy and delicious - so not really a recipe, steaming vegetables is more of an easy skill.

This evening I served the cabbage with my dauphinoise potato master recipe to which I added, sliced smoked garlic and sauteed smoked pancetta. A real winter warmer for an Irish spring!

I am going to sign off now as the lights are flickering and I might need to locate a torch ... lets hope my cabbage prayer works!

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