Of cabbages, and kings

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

Lewis Carroll: “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” in Through the Looking Glass

I had the entirely rare family-free evening last night. My husband’s friend calls his equally rare solo evenings “bachelor nights,” and indulges in such nastiness as bad old tv shows and Banquet Chicken. (Egads, please don’t let my life come to that.) Me? I wanted cabbage and potatoes, and a good book.

So I harvested some greenhouse spuds, some veg garden lacinato kale, broccoli spears, an onion, garlic, and lots of parsley and marjoram. Deborah Madison has a divine recipe of steamed potatoes in browned butter with steamed savoyed cabbage: so simple but it’s beyond description as far as comfort food goes. Not green enough for my tastes, at least not today in the season of green bounty, thus the addition of the broccoli…and some reserved bacon fat for the kicker. Add a poached egg, some salt and a glass of white wine…it was kingly. Or queenly, as the case might be. Here’s her recipe, which is great for cold nights.

Savoy Cabbage with Potatoes and Brown Butter

  • 8 oz. boiling or fingerling potatoes
  • 1 1/2 lbs. Savoy cabbage, cut into large squares or strips
  • 3 T brown butter (butter slowly heated until it the milk solids separate and brown)
  • 1/2 c diced Taleggio or Taleme cheese
  • 2 T freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 T chopped fresh sage
  • Salt and milled pepper

Peel the boiling potatoes and cut them into 1/2″ chunks, or rub fingerlings clean and slice into 1/2″ rounds. Steam until tender, about 15 mins., then remove to a bowl, cover, and keep warm. Steam the cabbage until tender, 5-10 mins. Combine veggies in the bowl, add warmed butter and the cheeses, toss, then season with salt and pepper.

From Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

7 responses to “Of cabbages, and kings

  1. Wow – that recipe sounds wonderful! I’m heading to the Farmer’s Market to pick up some potatoes and cabbage. Yummy!

  2. Sounds so good!

    Question, how do you know when you’ve got a chance of finding baby spuds at the bottom of a potato plant? I’ve got so many potatoes out there that I would happily dig some of them up, just not sure if it’s time yet?!?

  3. Hi Bobbi! Yep it’s good eating, I swear.

    Hello Laura. Well, with early season spuds, usually 2 weeks after they flower you can noodle around under there to see if there are any. This is called grabbling. You don’t need to uproot the entire plant to find them; just dig very gently. Surprisingly, potatoes are actually thickened stems, so they kind of grow out in runners, with (toward the end of the season) 3 or more spuds on the runner. Me? I got tired of how much space the spuds were taking in the greenhouse so they all came out. About 5 pounds worth too! Yum. Pretty good for an accident.

  4. OMG, why am I suddenly hungry for oysters?

    Let’s see… You grabbled, so (taking a wild guess here): Happy Birthday!

  5. CC: Smartie! I so adore oysters, but now I settle for salsify and scorzonera. And thanks, as tomorrow is my birthday, grumble grumble. Happy belated anniversary to you too: I am sure you were a gorgeous June bride…

  6. Salsify. Of course.

  7. sounds like a perfect meal!

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