it’s that time of year when the new greens are appearing at the market - chicory, radicchio, watercress, curly kale, chards, sprouting broccoli, cima di rape, cavolo nero and the wonderful savoy cabbage.
i think last year was probably one of the first years when i really made the effort to use these greens and savoy was my starting point. it’s also been my starting point for the season this year.
with smokey pancetta and a little butter, it’s a perfect accompaniment to any meal where richness is being provided elsewhere and you want the fresh green taste of balancing flavours. macaroni cheese would be my perfect partner.
savoy cabbage with smoked pancetta (serves 2, as a side dish)
handful of smoked pancetta lardoons (optional)
½ a savoy cabbage, roughly shredded
salt & pepper
cook the pancetta, in a non-stick pan, until it is crispy. remove the pancetta from the pan and drain on some kitchen roll. discard the fat (i find it tends to have burnt bits in it which doesn’t taste great but you may disagree and want to use it in place of the butter), and add the butter to the pan.
when the butter has melted, add the cabbage with a tablespoon or two of water. put a lid on the pan and turn the heat up so that the water boils and the cabbage starts to cook in the resultant steam. after a couple of minutes turn the heat off and, leaving the lid on so no steam escapes, leave the cabbage to finish cooking. when ready to serve, season and mix well, adding a little more butter if you think it is needed.
you could use crumbled chestnuts, fried in a little butter at the start, or use slivers of sun dried tomato.