Making A Stunning Dish With Few Ingredients Is A Gift Of The Italian Kitchen
I watched Mario Batali make this dish on a TV show nearly 20 years ago. It cooked up so BIG on the screen, I had to try. It still makes my kitchen sing through all these years.
Combining just onion, cabbage, grapes, and vinegar builds this sweet-sour mound, perfect as a side or under dish. Top with sausage, or grilled protein of choice.
INGREDIENTS: Reverse cabbage and grape colors for visual contrast
- olive oil, 1/4 cup
- red onion, 2 cups, thinly sliced, crescent cut
- cabbage, 3 cups, 1/4″ ribbons
- grapes, 2 cups, halved
- cinnamon, 1/4 tsp.
- salt, 1 tsp.
- red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup, [use a good vinegar]
- For onion, halve through the poles, then slice thinly using longitudinal cuts to create “crescent” shapes. (This helps keep the onion from breaking down while cooking.)
- In a large skillet add oil but do not proceed until oil is just at smoking point. Then add onions. (This is an important technique to get the onion to caramelize and produce a vital flavor component. Sauté until onions start to take on color. Don’t walk away at this point!
- Add the cabbage, grapes, cinnamon, salt, and pepper and over medium heat, cook 12-15 minutes until the cabbage has softened. Stir occasionally.
- Add the vinegar and cook a couple minutes more. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
- While cooking down the cabbage, grill some protein and serve atop this beautiful dish.
Top left: Caramelizing onions. TR: Adding in cabbage and grapes.
BL: Adding red wine vinegar. BR: Served with potato salad, and grilled sausage.
PLANNED OVER DISH:
I turned this into another dish by reheating the cabbage and spiking with a bit more vinegar and olive oil. Toss in some diced pastrami [or leftover sausage], and a handful of cooked pasta. Dust with some minced rosemary and a sprinkle of parmesan. Excellemento!
Original recipe by Mario Batali