Red Cabbage with Pine Nuts and Raisins

Red cabbage lends itself to sweet/sour preparations because of its inherently pungent, mustardy quality.  It’s a good side dish to prepare for guests, since it can be cooked, then reheated at the last minute.

It can be sauteed to crisp-tenderness or simmered for an hour to melting softness.  I tend to like it somewhere in between.  For this dish, I blanch the cabbage for about 5 minutes, then drain.  Then I saute it in olive oil, add agave (or sugar), red wine vinegar, pine nuts and raisins, and simmer for a half-hour.  The flavor becomes sweeter and more complex the longer you simmer it.

It’s a great accompaniment to grilled or cured meats, especially pork.  I also like it with grilled salmon, since its sweet/sour flavor is a good balance for the rich, fatty salmon.

Red Cabbage with Pine Nuts and Raisins

serves 4

1 head red cabbage

3 tbls olive oil

2 tbls agave (or 1/4 c sugar)

2 tbls red wine vinegar

1/4 c golden raisins

2 tbls pine nuts

salt to taste

Slice head of cabbage lengthwise into quarters, retaining a bit of the core in each quarter.  Remove core from each quarter and slice crosswise into 1/2″ ribbons.

Drop cabbage into salted boiling water and blanch for 5 minutes after water returns to boil.  Drain and set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed skillet or saucepan, heat oil and add cabbage.  Saute for about 5 minutes, until cabbage begins to caramelize.  Add the remaining ingredients and cover.

Simmer on low heat for about a half-hour, uncovering and stirring occasionally.

Taste and add salt.  Serve hot or warm.

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