Savoy cabbage is a versatile cabbage, similar to green cabbage but a bit milder and sweeter, with leaves that are looser and more ruffly. It is also a bit more expensive than regular cabbage.
What Is Savoy Cabbage?
Savoy cabbage is a green, leafy vegetable that grows in loose, spherical heads made up of crinkly, lacy leaves. It is classified as a cruciferous vegetable, which means that it is a member of the botanical family Brassicaceae, along with veggies such as cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and bok choy.
Savoy cabbage is named for the Savoy region of France in the Western Alps, along the borders with Italy and Switzerland, where it is believed to have originated. Although it is available year-round, the winter versions tend to be milder and sweeter than the ones that are grown in the summer, which can be a bit more robust.
Savoy is a versatile cabbage in that it can stand in for both ordinary green cabbage, which it resembles due to its round shape, as well as napa or Chinese cabbage, whose thinner, frilly leaves it also has in common. It can be eaten raw, pickled, fermented, or cooked. Although raw savoy cabbage isn't quite as crunchy as green cabbage, it holds its texture better when cooked, whereas green cabbage tends to turn a bit mushy.
How to Use Savoy Cabbage
One of the interesting things about a savoy cabbage is that the leaves' texture changes from the outer towards to the middle. The outer leaves are frilly, green and delicate, but the innermost ones are pale yellow, firm, and crisp. That means the outer and inner leaves can be used for different things. Wrap the outer leaves around meats and grains and then simmer them in tomato sauce. and use the inner ones for braising, stir-frying, or sautéing in butter or bacon fat. As with all cabbages, savoy is delicious served raw in salads and slaws, where a blend of inner plus outer leaves will provide wonderful textural contrast.
To prep savoy cabbage, soak the whole head in water in hopes of dislodging any dirt, grit, or insects, but best is to take the leaves apart and rinse them separately. Discard any thick, woody stems from the outer leaves.
What Does It Taste Like?
Savoy cabbage has a mild, sweet, vegetal flavor with less of the peppery flavor associated with green and red cabbage. Because of its relatively neutral flavor, savoy cabbage pairs equally well with salty and rich foods like pork, duck, and bacon as with mild fish and seafood.
A 100-gram serving of raw green cabbage is about 91 percent water, and provides 27 calories, 2 gram of protein, 6 grams of carbs and 3 grams of dietary fiber along with negligible fat. It is also a source of vitamin C and vitamin K.
Savoy Cabbage Recipes
Savoy cabbage is versatile and can be stuffed, grilled, braised, and used in salads. Here is a sampling of recipes that can be prepared using savoy cabbage, which highlight various cooking techniques.
Where to Buy Savoy Cabbage
Savoy cabbage can usually be found in the produce department of any supermarket. They can also sometimes be found at farmers' markets, especially in the spring and fall. Look for heads that are firm and heavy for their size. They should have a bright, fresh color and the outer leaves should not be brown or wilted.
Before cutting, store a whole unwrapped head of savoy cabbage in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Once cut, wrap it tightly and store it in the crisper drawer and use it within 2 to 3 days. Do not wash savoy cabbage until just before use, as wetness can accelerate spoilage.
Savoy Cabbage Vs. Napa Cabbage
Savoy cabbage is sometimes confused with napa cabbage, due to the fact that they both have ruffly, lacy leaves. Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage, has a bit more of a peppery kick, although their uses are similar. The easiest way to tell them apart is that napa cabbage is oblong in shape, while savoy cabbage is round.
Savoy Cabbage. Fooddata central, United States Department of Agriculture