Sautéed Cabbage with Fennel and Garlic
Why This Recipe Works
Unlike kale and Brussels sprouts, which have undergone a recent resurgence, cabbage is still considered boring and bland at best and mushy and smelly at worst. In our recipe, we mitigate the pungent flavors and sulfurous odors that can plague many (over)cooked cabbage dishes while bringing out the vegetable’s natural sweetness and maintaining a crisp-tender texture. Instead of boiling or braising, we pan-steam and sauté the cabbage over relatively high heat to cook it quickly and add an extra layer of flavor from browning. A precooking step of soaking the cabbage reduces bitterness while providing extra moisture to help the cabbage steam. Cooked alliums help reinforce sweetness, while an acid provides a shot of brightness.