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
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.