This dish is fabulous—I make it all the time through the fall and winter, and I never get tired of it. The recipe is based on one in Deborah Madison’s The Greens Cookbook. Even if you’re not a diehard cabbage fan, this recipe may well convert you.
The cabbage can be as soft or as tender-crisp as you like—I usually cook it until it’s fairly tender, but make it to your liking. I have been known to make a huge vat of this for parties—you can make it in the afternoon, before dinner, and warm it up in the microwave and then sprinkle on the nuts, parsley, and optional cheese at the last minute.
¾ cup shelled walnuts
2 teaspoons toasted walnut oil (I use Loriva oil. Don’t bother with refined walnut oil—it won’t have the flavor you’re looking for.)
sea salt or kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper
1 small red cabbage (about 18 ounces)
1 crisp red apple
1 clove garlic, minced
3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, plus extra to taste
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
3 ounces soft goat cheese, broken into large pieces [optional]
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the walnuts with the walnut oil and some salt and pepper and toast in the oven for 7-10 minutes, until the nuts are toasted and fragrant. Remove them from the oven and let them cool.
2. Quarter the cabbage, remove the core, and slice it thinly.
3. Core the apple and slice it thinly.
4. Put the garlic, vinegar, and oil in a wide sauté pan over medium-high heat. As soon as the mixture is bubbling, add the onion and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the cabbage and continue to cook until wilted, and as tender as you like it.
5. Season with plenty of salt and pepper, and definitely add more vinegar to sharpen the flavors. Don’t be shy with the vinegar and salt—it’s what makes the salad yummy.
6. Add the apple slices and stir for another minute, then remove from the heat. Just before serving, add goat cheese (if using), parsley, and walnuts.