Savoy cabbage has a very distinctive look—it will most definitely catch your attention. The highly contrasting shades of green and deeply crinkled texture of the leaves make Savoy cabbages appealing to the eye. Despite the rough appearance, the leaves of Savoy cabbage are tender, even when eaten raw. It makes them an ideal choice for salads or as a wrapping leaf in a roll-up. In addition to its taste and texture, another highly beneficial trait is that it lacks the sulfur-like odor that most people are more than familiar with. This makes Savoy cabbage the perfect choice for cooking as well. I equally like it with roasted fish and grilled meat—meaning it stands up perfectly well next to strongly flavored foods.
Green, red or Savoy cabbage
Compared to the leaves of green and red cabbages, tenderness is a huge factor in the appeal of Savoy cabbage. The green and red cabbages have a slightly bitter taste. Savoy cabbage, by comparison, is milder and sweeter. In addition the uneven surface of Savoy cabbage captures sauces much better than the flat-leafed green and red cabbage varieties and therefore tends to be more flavorful—capturing more sauce with each bite certainly equals more flavor.
Savoy cabbage = powerhouse
Like the rest of the cabbage family, Savoy cabbage has an excellent nutritional value. It's low in calories and contains no fat or cholesterol. It is a good source of dietary fiber and protein. In general, cabbage is rich in vitamins and minerals such as thiamine (B-1), folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, manganese, calcium, copper, phosphorous, and copper. In addition, cabbage is an excellent source of both Vitamins K and C. Its high levels of antioxidants make it disease combating—exactly what we need in the cold winter season. These properties make cabbage one of the world’s healthiest foods this time of year.
The following is currently my favorite cooked cabbage recipe. It is pleasantly spicy because of the addition of an increased amount of black pepper and a tad bit of cayenne.
Spiced Cabbage Sauté with Tomatoes
(recipe yields 4-6 portions)
1.5 pounds prepped cabbage or 1 whole, medium-sized head Savoy cabbage
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as grapeseed or sunflower oil
8 oz canned, chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, and more to taste
20 turns black pepper from a mill, and more to taste
Pinch of cayenne
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1) With a chef’s knife cut off the bottom 1/2-inch of the cabbage. Remove the dark green leaves and throw out. Cut cabbage vertically in half. With the tip of the knife cut the core out of the cabbage and discard. In 1 1/2-inch intervals cut cabbage and then across into 1 1/2-inch squares.
2) In a gallon-sized pot, heat the oil, then add the cabbage and cook for 15 minutes on high heat. Stir cabbage gently with a wooden spoon.
3) Add tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and vinegar, and continue to cook for 10 minutes.
4) Add parsley and adjust seasoning with black pepper and salt.
Chef’s note: For variation, 2 tablespoons of capers make a great addition to the above reci