Cook Savoy Cabbage Quickly To Maintain Its Delicate Texture

Ruffled and beautifully textured, savoy cabbage looks like it was harvested from an enchanted vegetable garden. Although other varieties of cabbage have a firmer crunch when raw, delicate savoy cabbage has advantages of its own. It's got a more neutral flavor, the outer leaves are easy to remove for making wrapped cabbage rolls, and it's great for a quick-cooking method like a stir-fry because of its less crunchy texture.

The darker outer leaves of savoy cabbage have a pebbled texture similar to lacinato kale. They shield the inner leaves from the sun, so the leaves inside of the head stay a light yellow-green with a mildly sweet, earthy flavor. Those tender inner leaves only need a quick toss in your skillet to soften fully, unlike other cabbage varieties that need more heat to wilt. It makes savoy perfect for cabbage-laced pasta recipes and soups when you'd like to add a handful of shredded leaves for some green goodness before serving. But savoy cabbage leaves are also hearty enough to stand up to being braised when they're stuffed or roasted in wedges.

Savoy cabbage is adaptable and delicious

Heads of savoy cabbage are easy to use in place of loose-leafed nappa cabbage, and it's also a good stand-in for regular green head cabbages, making it one of the most versatile members of the cabbage family. Just remember to reduce the cooking time if you make the substitution since savoy cabbage doesn't require extensive heat to soften. Of course, savoy cabbage is also delicious uncooked — the two shades of green from the outer and inner leaves make a nice color contrast in cabbage salads and coleslaws. It would also work well in sauerkraut, giving an extra element of knobbly texture to your fermented cabbage condiment.

You'll find heads of local savoy cabbage at your grocery or farmer's market from early winter through late spring, but many stores keep it in stock year-round. There are quite a few varieties of savoy cabbage, ranging from oval to round, but you'll be able to recognize the family by the distinctive texture of the leaves. The cooler months are a perfect time to try this tender cabbage when it's at the height of its flavor.