2 October, 2010

Other people’s food: Savoy cabbage gratin with Saint Félicien

Now I love Savoy cabbage and I love Saint Marcellin. But even I was amazed by how good this recipe is. And even Steve, who loathes cabbage in any form except for Brussels sprouts, grudgingly conceded that it was “not bad” (admittedly after I doubled the amount of cheese). And that is high praise for a dish that is 80% cabbage. I found it ages ago on Orangette’s blog, but have only just got around to trying it. Why did I wait so long? And unlike Orangette I do have a black cat which I can stroke while braising cabbage and cackling evilly.

Monsieur Mystère

No apologies for the gratuitous cat picture; he’s more photogenic than cabbage gratin :)

My version: I had no butter, at all, so I substituted olive oil, which was probably a good thing for my arteries anyway. I’m sure it would be good with butter, but it was just fine with olive oil. There was no St Marcellin in the cheese shop, so I bought a nice ripe St Félicien instead. St Félicien is bigger than St Marcellin. What the heck, I chopped up the whole cheese (except the bits I ate while I was doing it) and scattered it over. So if using St Marcellin I’d be tempted to use most of two cheeses. Other nice tangy creamy cheeses can be used — I think Reblochon might be nice, and Molly used Délice de Bourgogne (I think she’s right that Brie wouldn’t work).

Of course, if you use vegetable stock this dish is vegetarian.

3 tbs olive oil or unsalted butter
1 smallish savoy cabbage quartered, cored, and sliced into narrow shreds
1 bunch spring onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
salt
400 ml mild chicken or vegetable stock
1 ripe Saint-Félicien cheese or 2 St Marcellins

Preheat the oven to 180C. Heat the oil or butter in a large frying pan, big enough to take all of the cabbage. Saute the cabbage and spring onions with a generous seasoning of salt on a medium to high heat for about 10 minutes; the cabbage should start to wilt, and can go brown in places. Add the stock, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.

Transfer everything to a large gratin dish, cover tightly with foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue to bake for 20 minutes or so until much of the liquid has evaporated (it’s a good-tempered dish, no harm will be done if you leave it a bit longer). Remove the dish from the oven, cut the cheese into small pieces, and scatter over the cabbage. Turn up the oven to 200C and cook for another 10 minutes or so until the cheese is melted. We just ate this with mashed potatoes, but it would go really well with roast or braised meat, especially pork.

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