Braised cabbage isn't most people's idea of a perfect midsummer meal. But I bought a few of these adorable little fellows at the farmer's market the weekend before last, and then we had out of town guests from early last week until this morning. So there was lots of eating elsewhere, plenty of staying up late and drinking liberally and getting up early, and very little grocery shopping, until this evening we found ourselves with curiously little fresh food and a strong desire to eat something simple and wholesome.
(That's Snark's hand gripping the innocent little cabbage. It all looks extremely dramatic, doesn't it?)
Combining my feebleness with the contents of my fridge, I cut the little cabbages into wedges and gave them a quick hot sear on each cut side until well flecked with crispy dark brown bits (I love the way cabbage tastes when subjected to this kind of browning). Then they went at the bottom of a heavy pan with a lid and were sprinkled with salt. Over top I scattered a medium onion and a large carrot, both cut into 1/4" slices, and poured about a third of a cup of white wine and three tablespoons of olive oil over all. On went the lid and the heat on medium high until the sound of boiling could be heard from within. Heat down as low as it would go and everything left alone, while I sat quietly in a corner doing not much, until the cabbage was exceedingly tender, in this case about an hour. I very gently flipped the cabbage over about halfway through. Then the lid came off and I turned the heat back up until the liquid had boiled away and the cabbage started to brown again.
We had it in bowls, topped with a fried egg apiece and plenty of freshly ground pepper, plus an extra sprinkle of salt on top. I don't have pictures of the finished dish, not because it wasn't pretty -- although it wasn't, except in the way that things that are ugly but delicious are pretty -- but because my camera's batteries ran out at the crucial moment. You can probably imagine it, though. Braising and wine both do delicious things to cabbage; I highly recommend the combination of the two. I'm sure the fact that these were gorgeous local cabbages didn't hurt, but one of the wonderful things about cabbage is that it keeps beautifully. You surely would get almost as great results with any old cabbage. (Savoy is nicer than the not-crinkly kind, though, in my opinion.) I mean, hell, we bought these a week and a half ago and they absolutely read as amazingly squeaky-fresh. Cabbage! It's a winner.