Another Nigel Slater tweak, this time a side turned into a main course. This is absolutely delicious and I encourage you to try it, even if you're not usually a fan of cabbage. The key is to cook the cabbage as minimally as possible, so that it retains bite and flavour, rather than degenerating into a sock-smelling mess. And use a big hearty cabbage like Savoy, not an insipid white ball from the supermarket. This is the vegetarian version, but you could easily snip in some grilled bacon or serve with a seared duck or pigeon breast.
- 350g cabbage
- 2 tsp black peppercorns
- 2 tsp juniper berries
- a thick slice of butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 200ml crème fraîche or double cream
Set off any brown rice or other accompaniment cooking; the cabbage takes less than 10 minutes to prepare. Separate and wash the leaves of the cabbage, pile them on top of each other, then slice into finger-width slices with a big, sharp knife. Bring a large pan of water to a boil, salt it lightly, then cook the cabbage for 2-3 minutes; essentially as soon as the water is back to a rolling boil, you should be testing the stems for done-ness. Drain in a colander and return the pan to a low heat.
Pound the peppercorns in a mortar and pestle, then drop in the juniper berries and crush them lightly. Drop the slice of butter into the warm pan, allow it to melt, then drop in the spices and sautee them for a couple of minutes, until fragrant. Pour in the salt and cream, stir around so it doesn't separate, and heat through. Return the cabbage to the pan and bring everything back to piping hot, then immediately serve. Tonight we toasted pumpkin seeds to top and served with plain fluffy mashed potato.