Where do 4-5 new recipes a week come from? It all starts by chatting with the farmers at Eastern Market as soon as I wrap up my Saturday demonstrations. Learning what will be fresh and bountiful the following weekend, I head home, my canvas bag filled with challenges. Some weeks that challenge is a brand new vegetable, or something that has just come into season. Others, it means trying to figure out summer’s fifteenth zucchini recipe.
After four days of pouring through cookbooks, conversations over dinner and internet research, my husband Jason, our friend Sam and I get together every Thursday night for #testkitchen. For five hours we test recipes finishing each one 3-4 different ways to see what flavors work best.
Last Thursday, uninspired by a basket full of apples, I reached out on my Facebook page. Apple butter and maple-mustard vinaigrette had me drooling, but when our friend Joe – a trained chef who can cook like nobody’s business – jumped on a recipe from Rhetta in Utah, we headed to the kitchen. Swapping guanciale for salt pork, and brightening rich, sweet Calvados with bright, complex sherry vinegar we had a winner.
Rhetta’s Cabbage with Apples
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1/4 pound guanciale or salt pork, diced
- 1 tbs mustard seed
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 4 cups shredded cabbage
- 2 apples, cored and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup Calvados
- Sherry vinegar
- Optional: 2 tbs cream*
*The cream is mellow and rich, but it will cover the apple and cabbage flavors a bit. Either way is delicious!
- In a large skillet over medium heat, lightly brown guanciale, rendering the fat.
- Add mustard seeds and cook about 1 minute until they begin to pop.
- Add onion to pan and sauté until softened. If the guanciale has released less than 2 tbs fat, make up the difference with olive oil.
- Add cabbage and cook 3-5 minutes, turning frequently with tongs, until slightly softened and edges begin to brown.
- Add apple and cook, again turning frequently, until cabbage and apples are soft, about 10 -12 minutes longer.
- Pour Calvados in to the hot pan and scrape up any brown bits.
- Season to taste with salt, pepper* and sherry vinegar. Add cream and cook 30 seconds until thickened if desired.
*Columbus, OH fans, I have a special treat for you. I made this for a dinner party Sunday and seasoned it with Whisky-brined Smoked Black Peppercorns from Spices Ltd. at North Market. Run don’t walk to pick some up and say hi to Ben while you are there (I’m sure he can tell you who at the Market has guanciale).