One of the traditional dishes at my in-laws' Christmas Eve feast is what they call "Fooey." Fooey? Where does that come from? I have no idea. It's probably an Italian-American version of some long-lost Italian word for cabbage. (Please let me know if you have ever heard of this!) It's one of those dishes that looks kind of weird and sounds like something I really wouldn't like to eat... but alas, it has become my favorite thing of all on Christmas Eve. And now, I make it throughout the year whenever I can, and there are rarely any leftovers. Basically, it is a Savoy cabbage that is boiled and then sautéed with garlic, then topped with a crispy anchovy mixture and a fried dried cayenne pepper. Sounds weird, right? It's hot, it's salty, it's cabbage-y and crispy at the same time. It's total yum!
But you need a Savoy cabbage, not a regular one, because the texture is softer and the taste is better for this dish. Please follow the instructions for the hot pepper, and you will experience one of the most wonderful textures of crispy hotness ever known to humanity.
Savoy Cabbage with Anchovies and Hot Peppers (Fooey!)
1 Savoy cabbage
2 cloves garlic
1 jar anchovies
¼ cup white flour
5 or 6 dried cayenne peppers
1. Wash and chop up the Savoy cabbage (don't make the pieces too small).
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the cabbage (boiling it for about 5 minutes). Then strain the water out.
3. In a large cast-iron pan, sauté the olive oil and chopped garlic cloves for a minute, then add the cabbage to cook it till it is gently cooked and only slightly browned.
4. In a separate, smaller cast-iron pan, put the anchovies and flour together with a bit of olive oil, and sauté until the anchovies and flour have mixed together, crumbled up, and turned into a brown crispy, salty, crunchy topping. Put this in a separate bowl, and add a bit of good fresh olive oil on top to make it even yummier.
5. Wash out that small cast-iron pan, and add another dose of olive oil. Then fry up the dried cayenne peppers whole (take the green stems off, but otherwise put it all in). This only takes a minute until the peppers actually lighten up in color before they darken. Put the peppers and the oil from the pan into a bowl.
6. Let people put their own amounts of anchovies and hot peppers on their plates with the cabbage (so serve this in three separate bowls).
Enjoy! It's awesome!
For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com.