“Sometimes the nuances became quite elaborate. In an Orléans restaurant, over a plate of beef cheek, Jandin explained that, although everyone ate red cabbage in his pays, Catholics ate it cold, and Protestants ate it hot”
Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong, Jean Benoît and Julie Barlow
Why do I call this dish sunset-inspired no-reds-in-the-bed atheist cabbage? Well – originally I started with the red cabbage and the red onion – and immediately I thought ‘communist’. But as I was cooking it, and I began wondering why both the onion and the cabbage were deemed ‘red’ – to me they were both deeply, darkly, deliciously purple. Because I think it’s best served warm, it’s neither Catholic, nor Protestant… so I’ve assumed it must be agnostic.
Originally the idea had been to make a completely red dish – I’d bought a selection of mini-peppers and I had a choice of colours – I’d even taken out the red one. But then I remembered the previous evening’s sunset and I remembered how the golden setting sun had brought the deepening violet sky to a last triumphant sigh…. so at the last minute I selected the orange pepper instead. The colours complement each other, but, also, in this simple dish, so do the tastes.
The cabbage goes well with ham or sausages… and perhaps some Old Beemster cheese and some freshly baked nutty bread.
Recipe for sunset-inspired warm cabbage salad
- ½ small red cabbage
- 1 mini orange pepper
- 1 red onion
- Olive oil to fry
- 1 tsp cumin, crushed in a pestle and mortar
- 1 tsp smoked salt
- 1 tsp bitter honey – chestnut
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2½ tbsp. Greek yoghurt
- 1 tsp paprika – Spanish semi-sweet smoked for choice
- Peel and chop the onion, and get it frying in olive oil
- Shred the cabbage – add to the onion
- Add the salt, the cumin and the honey and mix well
- Fry gently for a maximum of ten minutes (you will lose the colour and crunchiness if you cook for too long), and move into a warmed serving bowl
- Add the chopped orange pepper to the frying pan and fry briefly for three or four minutes – until no longer raw
- Mix the mayonnaise, the paprika and the yoghurt together and dot over the cabbage
- Garnish with the orange pepper