Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cabbage & Jamon Serrano Sauté


Do you have a brother or a husband, a boyfriend or a girlfriend, who just won’t eat their veggies? Luckily (or not, depending on your stance on “plant-eating”) I have a husband who loves vegetables. Must have them. At every meal. He eats a lot more veggies then I do, and has actually been quite a good influence on me in that department (will just have to wait and see if the athletic department improves any…sigh). I do, however, have a brother that does need a little push when it comes to eating his vegetables. And it was him that first came to mind when I put this together.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do love veggies myself (and meat…I am an equal opportunity eater: everything has an equal opportunity to get eaten by me). My name may be ChichaJo (Chicharon meaning pork cracklings), but my little profile picture is a bunch of brussel sprouts (my favorite vegetable). Another favorite veggie (I do have many) is cabbage. I have heard much nasty press about cabbage (about brussel sprouts too for that matter), but I never understood why. Cabbage is good! And it gets on famously with bacon! (Aha.)

So one night, I find myself getting ready to whip up my usual cabbage with bacon sauté (I love heaping the cabbage onto my wok…creating a tall mountain that eventually “wilts”, pressing down with my hands…). Rooting through the fridge and freezer I realize…I don’t have any bacon (how that happened is a mystery)! Ack! What to do? I valiantly (desperately) explored some more, up to my elbows in frozen meats (and other oddities being housed in the deep freeze). Aha! My hand settles on a ziplock bag of jamon Serrano bits. Paydirt!

Let me explain (although in the planet I sometimes inhabit, a ziplock bag of jamon Serrano bits in the feezer needs no explanation at all). When I make fabada, I use a broth made from ham bone…jamon Serrano bone if I can get it. This makes all the difference in the world. The strong, aged ham flavor this has adds much depth and flavor to your broth. After making the broth, I take the bone and remove all the ham bits and toss them into the fabada. If there is too much bits (you don’t want your fabada to be too salty), I keep them in the freezer until the next fabada.

I thought this would make an excellent substitute for the bacon, so I happily got on with my sauté. The sauté itself is relatively simple, not even a recipe. I wouldn’t even mention it here except for the amazing effect the jamon bits produced. I sautéed a lot of chopped garlic in some olive oil, then tossed in the jamon Serrano bits. Almost immediately an incredible smell filled my kitchen. The aroma of the jamon was just so great and so heady that you could almost taste it in the air. My knees were actually going weak and I guarantee, every meat-lover in your house (and possibly some of your neighbors if you keep your windows open) will sniff their way into your kitchen.

This little addition makes the innocent cabbage seem suddenly chest-beatingly savage. I love it.

22 comments:

wysgal said...

I think the "nasty press" on cabbage has to do with its nutritional value being put to question? Your dish looks nice and tasty though. =)

veron said...

I used to hate veggies but now I will eat them especially if they are made like this. Who can resist the wonderful taste of Serrano ham and with garlic...pure heaven!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

With that suddenly chest-beatingly savage effect I guess I'd best make double what I think might be want so as to avoid a riot! I love veggies and this looks super good.

Gattina said...

I just stir-fried a wokful of cabbage today :D
I've seen serrano ham often in magazine, now very curious to get it!
Btw, every male in my family doesn't care vegetable, sure they miss something good!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Wysgal! Sigh...so hard to be a vegetable no? Always such high nutritional expectations! Heehee :)

Hi Veron! I am loving veggies more and more, although there are some I have always loved, and cabbage is one of them :) Preparing them with bacon or ham always does make my heart flutter though :)

Hi Tanna! Thank you! Heehee :) Good idea!

Hi Gattina! Jamon Serrano is really good...great, deep flavor. The best being Jamón Iberico de Bellota -- from acorn fed Iberian pigs...the slices melt in your mouth! :)

Socky said...

Your post made me nostalgic. I remember growing up on cabbage and ham saute, except my mom I think would use bits of Majestic ham.

veron said...

Joey - do you get iberico ham in the Philippines? It has recently been approve for import over here in the U.S. but we won't get them until 2008.

Franco said...

Cabbage and Eggplants, the poorer (nutritionally) relations of the veggie world. :(

ChichaJo said...

Hi Socky! I like Majestic ham too...C and I used to take Majestic ham bits into the movies instead of popcorn! Yikes!

Hi Veron! I get it in Spain, or from kind relatives who visit from there :) But I know we can get it here...I think some Spanish restaurants may import it...

Hi Franco! I feel for you...I love eggplants too...but with these veggies, it's all about the love! :)

Anh said...

This looks tasty! I am terribly bad at cooking cabbage. Yours look so nice.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Anh! Thank you :) I just make sure I have a hot wok (or saute pan) and stir fry until just done :)

Midge said...

Cabbage and bacon are a rustic pairing that can't be beat.

BTW, Joey, I've changed the URL for SybDive. It's now http://sybdive.wordpress.com/. I had to change hosts after a maintenance jag on Bloxster deleted most of my posts!

Freya and Paul said...

JOey, I have a love/hate relationship with cabbage but I do adore it with bacon. Yours looks delicious! Also, I'm going to use your Fabada recipe as I have just bought all the ingredients to make one, including the blood sausage!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Midge! I agree :) So sorry to hear about Bloxster! I'll be updating my link!

Hi Freya (and Paul)! Thank you :) Good luck with the fabada! Hope you enjoy it :)

Mila Tan said...

Bad press on cabbage and brussel sprouts tend to focus on over cooked cabbage, the sulphurous smell that comes from overcooking them, or that smelly sock smell (really boiled cabbage), and then recipes that just don't enhance their good qualities (in a salad or a really quick saute). Otherwise they and related vegies like broccoli and cauliflower are super veggies that are misunderstood. High in fiber, low in glycemic index, full of vitamins and anti-oxidants. I'll take cabbage/b.sprouts over ampalaya any day!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mila! Yes, I think I have heard of the smell...though I have never actually smelled it despite eating cabbage my whole life. Maybe because we always do a "quick saute" type of prep? "super veggies that are misunderstood" -- See? These guys need some lovin'! :)

mae said...

I make cabbage with bacon too! But i've never sauteed it with ham and serrano at that. What a great idea.

Thanks for sharing, Joey!

I can relate to your hubby. I like a side of vegetables too most of the time. Even if it's as simple as wilted spinach. I've got to have some.

Mae

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mae! Isn't the combination just so good? And I only use the bits left over after I had boiled the jamon serrano bone...imagine! A side of veg is always good...thank god I have a "veg-auditor" in my hubby who watches that there is always some around! :)

Kalyn said...

Hi there,
Just letting you know I'm including this recipe in my South Beach Recipes of the Week. It includes your photo, with a photo credit for you of course, and a link to your recipe. What a great idea.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Kalyn! I'm so thrilled to be picked again! :) Hooray!

sandi @ the whistlestop cafe said...

Joey~ looks awesome! Our Southern style cabbage is yummy. I also like cabbage just stir fried with a little soy sauce. Good cabbage can be a meal.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Sandi! Thanks :) I agree, a good cabbage dish can be a meal! I just got some purple/red cabbage and I'm excited to prepare and eat it! I can be such a dork, I know :)