Smothered green cabbage

Smothered green cabbage

Verza affogata

By
From
Venice
Serves
4
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

There are many versions of this recipe in different Venetian cookbooks, most telling you to leave the cabbage suffocated in beef or chicken stock for an hour or two on the stove. I have tried this and although the cabbage tastes interesting it is reduced to an otherworldly pale brown substance that you wouldn’t serve to your enemy. Maybe this method was developed to preserve the cabbage. However cabbage is now readily available so I would rather cook it quickly, preserving the colour and the vitamins as well as the texture. Do try and find lardo di colonnata, which is back fat from the pig that has been pressed and preserved with rosemary and salt. A block of it will last ages in your fridge and it really does give a wonderful flavour to stews, soups and vegetable dishes. It is usually sliced very thinly and it melts even with just the heat of a candle. In this case a pesto, or paste, is made from the chopped lardo, garlic and rosemary and this melted paste is used to fry the cabbage. If you can’t find lardo use good unsmoked streaky bacon.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500g green cabbage
100g unsmoked, fatty streaky bacon
2 garlic cloves
1 sprig rosemary
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Cut the stalk away from the cabbage and finely shred it into thin slices. Using a large knife chop the bacon (or use lardo di colonnata), garlic and rosemary leaves – discard the stalk – together on a board until they are well blended and the mixture forms a paste. Heat the oil and paste together in a large wok or frying pan with a lid. Stir-fry the mixture for 2 minutes then throw in the cabbage and toss it through the fat. Add the wine, cover the pan and continue to cook for up to 20 minutes or until the cabbage is how you like it; still green and bouncy or soft and wilted. Season to taste. Serve straight away or keep warm until you are ready.
Tags:
Venice
Giancarlo
Katie
Caldesi
Venetian
Italian
European
Mediterranean
Italy
Europe
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