It’s been said that on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone’s Irish. Judging by cabbage consumption in the U.S. on March 17, that appears to be true. Millions of pounds of cabbage are purchased for preparation on that day, served alongside traditional corned beef.
But cabbage, I’ve found, is a funny thing. You can buy one medium-size head of cabbage, cut it in half, shred that half, and find yourself with enough cabbage to feed a family of four for eight months. And it’s a rare family of four that wants to eat cabbage for eight months. It’s amazing how much actual cabbage that head can pack!
In years past, we’ve had severe cabbage overload due to this phenomenon … the details of which I’ll spare you. Suffice it to say, we ended up skipping the corned beef meal two years in a row due to bad memories.
But not anymore! Now, I pass right by the deceptively innocent-looking heads of regular (on sale for cents a pound) cabbage and head for the Savoy cabbages. Yes, they’re more expensive. And yes, their crinkly leaves make an unconventional-looking side for our corned beef, but the flavor is excellent and the best part is that half the head gets saved for Sesame Cabbage, which is the part we really look forward to.
Savoy cabbage isn’t given to the ridiculous excess of the standard globe-headed cabbage. One good-sized head will give us only two meals ~ perfect for a family of four. But if you find yourself with a pillowcase full of shredded cabbage leftovers, this Sesame Cabbage recipe will do just as nicely . . . in fact, it’s a very good way to help use up some of those leftovers. But maybe give the wrinkled sister Savoy a spin this year . . . you’ll thank me three months into the year when you’re not eating cabbage leftovers.
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon neutral cooking oil
- 1 head Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced, rinsed, and spun dry
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat butter and oil together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When butter is melted, add thinly sliced cabbage. Cook cabbage for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, till the color intensifies and it begins to wilt.
- Lower heat to medium-low and place lid on skillet. Let cabbage cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, or until cabbage is tender and nicely browned on the bottom layer.
- Remove from heat, drizzle with sesame oil and sesame seeds, and toss to coat. If desired, sprinkle with rice vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste, or you may use soy sauce, if you prefer. (Note: soy sauce will impart a dark color to the cabbage.)