Tom Colicchio smiling.
Tom Colicchio's Apple Cider Trick To Give Cabbage A Tangy Edge
By Heidi Chaya
Grown in nearly a hundred countries, cabbage is beloved in dishes like kimchi, stuffed cabbage, corned beef and cabbage, and soups. However, if you’re someone who’s skeptical about it, chef Tom Colicchio’s apple cider-braised cabbage recipe, which he shared in his Food & Wine book "Dinner Special: 150+ Recipes for a Great Meal Any Night of the Week," can change your mind.
The recipe calls for apple cider and apple cider vinegar — two acidic additions that lend a sweet, sharp flavor to the cabbage. Colicchio’s method is similar to the Southern American tradition of adding vinegar to the pan when cooking a related vegetable, collard greens, with pork — a practice that helps harmonize the rich, meaty flavors of the dish.
The vinegar tames the greens' bitterness and adds a tart dimension to the aptly-named "pot likker" broth that forms when you cook them down. Raw cabbage can be tough, crunchy, and dense, but the acid in apple cider or apple cider vinegar assists in making it softer. The vinegar also keeps red cabbage from turning an alarming but harmless blue color during cooking.