Aside from nagging coughs, Pam and I are finally feeling more like ourselves. I think that by the middle of next week, our February sufferings will begin to recede into memory. I’m hoping our immune systems will also have built up antibodies against this awful disease. This is one case of the flu (or whatever it was) that we don’t want to ever have to experience again!
We got ‘back on that horse’, and went out into the drizzle, back down to do grocery shopping again at Granville Island, and I was pleased to see that Stewart’s Bakery was back up again. Better 2 weeks late than never. No camera for shots this time, but I will try and get some during the week when it isn’t so crowded. The new glass cases, new offerings and ovens look spectacular, and I can say with some confidence that the market now has 3 very good (and very different) bakeries.
Speaking of the market, I was rifling through some of my cookbooks this morning and came upon a recipe for Savoy Cabbage and Pancetta* (originally an Italian recipe). Feeling inspired, I stopped by Oyama to pick up the pancetta and mentioned my idea to the fellow taking my order (there are often a dozen of them back behind the counter doing their best to deal with the throngs of customers, from what appear to be at the very least, France, Quebec, and Germany. This chap was German, and brightened when I told him of my idea. “If you’d like to make it slightly differently, here’s how my mother in Bavaria used to make it”:
1 Medium-sized Savoy Cabbage, trimmed and cut in quarters
About 1/4 lb. of pancetta, diced
3–4 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
Dash of grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Some Flat-leaf parsley, chopped finely (optional garnish)
Boil the cabbage in water for about 15 minutes, until it is tender, but still holds it’s shape. While it is boiling, cook the pancetta in a large skillet under medium heat, remove and drain on paper. Drain all but a trace of the fat. (The saltiness of the pancetta keeps one from having to salt the cooking water, although I normally would).
Remove the Cabbage from the pot, and cut into small pieces. Reserve about 2 cups of the cooking water.
In the same skillet under medium to low heat add the butter and flour to make a roux. Cook, mixing often until it is just slightly browned and no longer tastes like ‘raw’ flour. Slowly add 1 cup of the cooking water. Whisk to remove lumps and form a slightly thickened sauce. Keep adding about 1/2 a cup more water, continuing to whisk. Add back the cabbage, and cook under medium heat, stirring to coat the cabbage with the sauce. Add in the pancetta and sprinkle nutmeg all over the dish, cooking for 5–10 minutes more, stirring to completely mix all of the flavours. Add salt and pepper and adjust seasonings as necessary.
Serve immediately with the chopped parsley on top.
We had the cabbage with steamed Bratwurst made with leeks, fresh caraway Rye bread and Granville Island Winter Ale. If our constitutions were needing anything to sustain them, this surely was just what der Doktor ordered.
*For those not familiar with pancetta, it’s a type of rolled, italian bacon. It’s cured rather than smoked, so it’s salty with a distinctive pork flavour. I love cooking with it and often make Pasta Al’ Amatriciana, which is not much more than diced, cooked pancetta, chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, and some hot pepper. It makes for a gutsy pasta sauce that is a mainstay of Roman cooking.