Cabbage is what I term one of those funny vegetables. About the only time you’ll see it is when it’s stuffed with whatever meat you like or in sauerkraut. You’ll seldom see it as a meal in itself or even as side dish. I know that in Europe, boiled cabbage was a meal as a necessity, since it was cheap. But we’ve come along way from the shtetl (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, rent or stream the movie Fidler on the Roof). Be as it may, the dish given below brings cabbage to the fore. And the lowly vegetable finally gets top billing. It shines as an accompaniment to any main dish course.
Note that when purchasing cabbage, choose a crisp, firm, compact head of cabbage. Avoid any that show even a hint of yellow.
CABBAGE WITH SOUR CREAM AND NUTMEG
2-pound head green cabbage
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups water
½ pint sour cream
Nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
1. Carefully remove and discard any loose outer eaves. Then cut off stem at the base flush with the bottom of the cabbage. With a large knife, cut the cabbage in half vertically; lay the halves, cut side down, on a chopping board. Cut each halve again in the same manner. Carefully cut away the top of the triangular core, being careful not to cut too deeply (it is imperative that you leave a small amount of core in each quarter to hold the leaves together). Place the quartered cabbage in a large colander and quickly run cold water over the quarters. Let them drain while you prepare the steamer.
2. Pour 2 cup water into a 5-quart pot and add cabbage, arranging them cut side up and sprinkle each quarter lightly with salt. Bring to a boil, cover pot, lower to moderate heat and steam cabbage for 5 minutes. Test for doneness you prefer by piercing a cabbage quarter with tip of small sharp knife. Steam the cabbage for another 2-3 minutes (securely recovering the pot) if your prefer your cabbage less crisp. Ideally, it should not only be to the point where it retains a bit of firmness, but is also a glistening green color
3. With tongs, transfer the cabbage to a heated platter and top each quarter with about 2 tablespoons sour cream. Sprinkle the cream with a few gratings of fresh nutmeg and serve at once.
Yield: 4-6 servings.
Note: If cabbage is not young and tender, steam 7-8 minutes then test for doneness.