I'm making two side dishes from The New Irish Table today. No main dish as I'm making plenty of both. That's despite the fact that both would clearly go well with pork. Maybe with the leftovers.
I'm making these by the book so I'll just give you the recipes straight:
2 Tablespoon sunflower oil [I'm pretty sure high-smoke-point cooking oil is the point here and any will do.]
4 shallots, finely diced
1 head savoy or napa cabbage [or whatever we've got], shredded
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
In a heavy saucepan, heat the sunflower oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, cabbage, horseradish, garlic, and ginger and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the cabbage starts to wilt.
Stir in the sugar and cook to caramelize the cabbage lightly.
Add the vinegar and lemon juice and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Turnips Anna Livia
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Dubliner or white Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
pinch of ground nutmeg [which I forgot]
1 1/2 to 2 pounds white turnips, peeled and finely sliced [I only had 1 1/4 pounds of turnips so I added one potato. Also I don't have all day so I didn't bother peeling them.]
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled [I presume they'd say Irish bacon if they meant that. And Irish bacon doesn't crumble well, does it?]
1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Brush the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate with some of the melted butter.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, cheese, salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary and nutmeg.
Arrange a single layer of the largest turnip slices in a concentric circle in the bottom and up the sides of the plate. [I don't think I'm doing it quite right.] Sprinkle some of the flour mixture and some of the bacon over the turnips. Drizzle with butter. Repeat, layering, ending with a layer of turnips. Pour cream over top.
Place the plate on a baking sheet. Spray a 9-inch square of aluminum foil with butter-flavored cooking spray [who has that? I rubbed the foil with a knob of butter.] and place, butter-side down on top of the turnips.
Place a heavy 8- or 9-inch cast-iron skillet or pie plate on top and press firmly. Fill the pan with pie weights or dried beans [or, as I did, pile more cast iron on top] and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the bottom and sides are golden brown. (Check after 35 minutes and, if not browning, remove the foil and continue baking until the top is golden brown.) [That's two different indications of doneness. The sides did appear to be browning a little at 35 minutes, but not the top. I wanted a brown top so I removed the foil and kept baking.] [I got a good bit of smoke and some not so pleasant odors while this was cooking, but I think that's just my cast iron pans seasoning. I oil them and heat them on the stovetop after using them, but it's not the same. This experience will be good for them.]
Remove from the oven. With a spatula, loosen the cake around the edges. Let cool for 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate [Some small sticking problems there.] and cut into wedges. Garnish with minced thyme and serve.
The cabbage is nice enough, but it tastes of candied ginger. I like candied ginger, sure, but browned cabbage is good on its own and that ought to be more central than the ginger. I didn't even use a full Tablespoon of it and it's dominating the dish.
The turnips are pretty good too. Not quite soft like Potatoes Anna would be. A bit chewier and with a hints of turnip character standing up against all that butter, bacon and cream. The crispy golden brown outer slices are, of course, the highlight, but it's mildly tasty and hearty throughout.
That ginger is still bugging me, though. I want to add some fish sauce to balance out the spicy sweetness. What with this and Todd English's wacky caponata I'm drawing my line right here. Adding ginger to most European dishes is a fusion too far and I will not stand for it. OK, I'm not going to campaign against it or anything, but I'm leaving it out next time.