Once again, the Comidista team steps up to rescue humanity from the authoritarian rule of overcooked vegetables. Today, our opponent is a feisty one: the cabbage, proud favorite of the traditional stew, always looking down from the top of the pot. It may seem innocent, all round and bright green, even possessing a delightful sweetness when sitting on the kitchen counter. However, the malevolence of cabbage lies in wait until it’s cooked, revealing its odor of overcooked eggs and gas, leaving no chance for redemption.

But fear not! Armed with a skillet and a generous piece of butter, we shall tame it, transforming it into a docile cruciferous, crispy, aromatic delight, still retaining that pleasant crunch it possesses when raw. There are other techniques that work wonders too: slicing it thinly and serving it in a salad – with citrus, it’s a marvel – steaming it for just a couple of minutes, or briefly blanching it to preserve its chlorophyll and bite. If you can’t beat your enemy, cook it less.

Jokes aside, it’s a pity to prepare cabbage exclusively by boiling. Grilling or pan-searing yields fascinating textures and, importantly, caramelization (thanks to the Maillard reaction). Over medium heat, with ample butter, the cabbage cooks slowly in the skillet while being basted with the rendered fat: this method allows us to infuse the butter with garlic, rosemary, sage, or other herbs, later using it to create a sauce. In this case, we blend the toasted butter with some pieces of Parmesan and several anchovies to achieve a semi-liquid cream to nap the cabbage once served. A spectacle indeed. To add some crunch, we fry breadcrumbs until toasted.

Difficulty: Very, very easy


  • 1 pointed cabbage (or white cabbage)
  • 50g butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Rosemary
  • 40g Parmesan cheese
  • 4-5 anchovy fillets
  • 70g heavy cream
  • 1 slice of bread


  1. Cut the cabbage in half. Place it in a skillet along with the butter, garlic cloves, a bit of rosemary, and a drizzle of olive oil.
  2. Cook over medium heat, occasionally spooning the melted fat over the cabbage.
  3. Flip the cabbage when it’s very toasted and cook on the other side in the same manner.
  4. Set aside the cabbage and strain the butter. Blend it with Parmesan, anchovies, cream, and a bit of black pepper until smooth.
  5. Crumble the bread slice and fry in oil until golden and crispy.
  6. Serve the cabbage with the sauce and breadcrumbs on top.

Now, let’s delve into the rich tapestry of cabbage, exploring its culinary versatility, nutritional benefits, and historical significance, while immersing ourselves in the art of cooking it with finesse and creativity.

The Versatility of Cabbage

Cabbage, a member of the Brassica family, is a vegetable with an illustrious history, cherished in various cuisines worldwide for its adaptability and robust flavor profile. From the humble coleslaw to the sophisticated stuffed cabbage rolls, this cruciferous vegetable lends itself to an array of culinary creations.

Cabbage in Different Cuisines:

  1. Eastern European Cuisine: In Eastern European countries like Poland, Russia, and Ukraine, cabbage holds a place of honor in traditional dishes such as borscht, sauerkraut, and golabki (stuffed cabbage rolls). These dishes highlight cabbage’s ability to absorb flavors while imparting its unique taste to the dish.
  2. Asian Cuisine: In Asia, cabbage features prominently in stir-fries, soups, and pickled preparations. In China, it’s often stir-fried with garlic and served as a side dish, while in Japan, it’s used in okonomiyaki (savory pancakes) and as a topping for ramen.
  3. Latin American Cuisine: Latin American cuisines incorporate cabbage in various ways, from the tangy curtido served alongside pupusas in El Salvador to the crunchy cabbage slaw accompanying tacos in Mexico. Cabbage’s crisp texture and mild flavor provide a refreshing contrast to spicy and rich dishes.
  4. Mediterranean Cuisine: In the Mediterranean region, cabbage appears in dishes like Greek cabbage rolls (Lahanodolmades) and Italian cabbage soup (Zuppa di Verza). Its versatility allows it to seamlessly integrate into the diverse culinary landscape of the Mediterranean.

Nutritional Benefits of Cabbage

Beyond its culinary versatility, cabbage boasts an impressive array of nutritional benefits, making it a valuable addition to a balanced diet.

1. Rich in Nutrients: Cabbage is low in calories but high in essential nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber. A single cup of chopped cabbage provides over half of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, supporting immune health and collagen production.

2. Antioxidant Properties: Cabbage contains potent antioxidants, including flavonoids and sulforaphane, which help protect the body against oxidative stress and inflammation. These compounds have been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease and certain types of cancer.

3. Gut Health: The fiber content in cabbage supports digestive health by promoting regularity and providing food for beneficial gut bacteria. Additionally, fermented cabbage products like sauerkraut and kimchi contain probiotics that contribute to a healthy gut microbiome.

4. Weight Management: As a low-calorie, high-fiber food, cabbage can aid in weight management by promoting satiety and reducing overall calorie intake. Incorporating cabbage into meals can help increase vegetable consumption while keeping calorie counts in check.

5. Heart Health: The potassium and fiber content in cabbage support heart health by helping to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Including cabbage as part of a heart-healthy diet may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Historical Significance of Cabbage

Cabbage has a long and storied history, with archaeological evidence suggesting that it has been cultivated for over 4,000 years. Its resilience, long shelf life, and nutritional value have made it a staple food in many cultures throughout history.

1. Ancient Cultivation: The cultivation of cabbage can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, who prized it for its medicinal properties as well as its culinary uses. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that cabbage had therapeutic properties and used it to treat various ailments.

2. Cabbage in Medieval Europe: During the Middle Ages, cabbage became a dietary staple in Europe, particularly among peasants and lower classes. Its ability to withstand cold temperatures and grow in a variety of soils made it an indispensable crop, especially during times of food scarcity.

3. Exploration and Global Spread: With the Age of Exploration, cabbage found its way to new continents, accompanying explorers and settlers on their voyages. It became an essential food item aboard ships due to its long shelf life and high vitamin C content, helping to prevent scurvy among sailors.

4. Cabbage in Traditional Medicine: Throughout history, cabbage has been revered not only for its culinary uses but also for its medicinal properties. Ancient healers prescribed cabbage pou

ltices to treat a variety of ailments, ranging from headaches to wounds.

5. Cultural Symbolism: In addition to its practical uses, cabbage has also held symbolic significance in various cultures. In some European traditions, cabbage was associated with prosperity and good luck, leading to customs like eating cabbage on New Year’s Day to ensure a prosperous year ahead.

Cooking Techniques for Cabbage

While cabbage can certainly be enjoyed raw in salads or slaws, cooking it unlocks a depth of flavor and texture that elevates its culinary appeal. From sautéing and roasting to braising and fermenting, there are countless ways to prepare cabbage, each resulting in a unique and delicious dish.

1. Sautéing: Sautéing cabbage in a skillet with butter or oil caramelizes its natural sugars, resulting in a sweet and savory flavor. Add aromatics like garlic, onions, or herbs to enhance the dish further. Sautéed cabbage can be served as a side dish or incorporated into stir-fries and pasta dishes.

2. Roasting: Roasting cabbage in the oven brings out its natural sweetness and creates crispy edges that add texture to the dish. Simply toss cabbage wedges or slices with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast until golden and caramelized. Roasted cabbage can be served as a standalone side or used as a hearty base for grain bowls and salads.

3. Braising: Braising involves cooking cabbage slowly in a flavorful liquid until tender and infused with the surrounding flavors. Common braising liquids include broth, wine, or vinegar, which impart depth and richness to the dish. Braised cabbage pairs well with hearty meats like pork or sausage and is often served as a comforting winter dish.

4. Fermenting: Fermenting cabbage produces tangy and probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut and kimchi. The fermentation process breaks down sugars in the cabbage, resulting in a tangy flavor and crisp texture. Fermented cabbage can be enjoyed as a condiment, side dish, or ingredient in various recipes, adding complexity and depth of flavor.

5. Stuffing: Stuffing cabbage leaves with a savory filling creates a hearty and satisfying dish that’s perfect for entertaining or special occasions. Common fillings include ground meat, rice, vegetables, and spices, which are wrapped in blanched cabbage leaves and cooked until tender. Stuffed cabbage rolls are often served with a flavorful sauce for added richness.


In conclusion, cabbage is a versatile and nutritious vegetable with a rich culinary history spanning millennia. From its humble origins as a staple food of ancient civilizations to its modern-day presence in diverse cuisines around the world, cabbage continues to captivate our palates with its unique flavor and texture.

Whether enjoyed raw in salads, sautéed as a side dish, or fermented into tangy condiments, cabbage offers endless possibilities for culinary creativity. By exploring different cooking techniques and flavor combinations, we can unlock the full potential of this humble vegetable and elevate it to new heights of gastronomic delight.

So the next time you encounter a head of cabbage in the grocery store or at the farmers’ market, don’t underestimate its culinary prowess. Embrace its versatility, savor its flavor, and let your imagination run wild in the kitchen. Whether you’re preparing a simple side dish or a gourmet feast, cabbage is sure to delight your taste buds and nourish your body, one delicious bite at a time.

By Danny