Savoy Cabbage with White Beans and Mushroom Butter

I think that plain cabbage with lashings of butter and freshly ground Malabar black pepper is sublime by itself as a first course, but it is also one of the best vegetable garnishes in anyone’s repertoire. I use Savoy cabbage because it’s my favorite for both appearance and flavor.

In this recipe, I use fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), which is one of the most characteristic aromas in curry powder. It smells a bit like spicy celery, and it flavors this dish superbly.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Savoy cabbage
  • 1 cup cooked white beans
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • ½ tablespoon lemon zest
  • ¼ cup mushroom hash
  • ¼ cup butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Cut the cabbage in half from top to bottom. Cut out the core, and slice across the halves at 1-inch intervals. Wash the cabbage in cold water and drain.

Put the beans, garlic, fenugreek, parsley, and lemon zest in a bowl.

Mix the butter and mushroom hash together very well (or puree in a food processor until smooth).

Cook the cabbage in a large pot of boiling salted water, 5 to 10 minutes, until tender. Drain well in a colander, and then put the hot, drained cabbage in the bowl with the other ingredients. Add the mushroom butter and toss to mix everything together. Season and serve immediately.

Variation

Do nothing except toss the hot drained cabbage with ¼ cup of the Montpelier butter.