Day 17: Pollock with Cabbage, Radicchio, Bacon and Apple

27 Jan

Let’s face it, cabbage? Not so sexy. Cabbage and bacon? OK, getting a bit warmer. One of the reasons cabbage gets its unfair reputation of tasting foul is that when it’s cooked over a high heat it lets off sulfurous fumes that stink to high heaven and turn the cabbage bitter. If it’s cooked low and slow – braised – it can be delicious. In this recipe, a bed of cabbage and apples made colorful with radicchio is topped with a fillet of pollock and some sizzling, crispy bacon.

Pollock is less funny in America. Mostly because nobody says “bollocks” here. But it is very similar in texture to cod and usually quite a bit cheaper than cod nowadays.

Imperial War Museum

One reader was nice enough to bring the above poster to my attention. Fish was generally more readily available than meat during the war, so a substantial portion of fish could be had more easily than of meat. And salt cod was no exception!

Pollock with Cabbage, Radicchio, Bacon and Apple

2 tablespoons drippings
1/3 white onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon brandy
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and large diced
1/4 head cabbage, sliced medium
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon black currant jam
1/4 head radicchio
1 cup vegetable broth
6 ounces pollock
1 strip bacon, finely sliced

Heat the drippings in a shallow pot. Sweat the onion and garlic until translucent then deglaze with the brandy. Add the apple until slightly softened. Add the cabbage and season with the salt, sugar, fennel seeds, pepper and jam. Cook slowly until the cabbage has broken down a little. Don’t be tempted to crank up the heat and cook it on high as the cabbage lets off sulphurous compounds when cooked rapidly that can mean it tastes a bit bitter. You want the cabbage to have bite, but to be fully cooked through. Add the radicchio and vegetable broth then gently lay the pollock on the top of the cabbage. Sprinkle it with a bit of salt and cover the pot. Steam for about 5 minutes until the fish has just begun to flake. While the fish is cooking, render the bacon until crisp. Pour off and reserve the drippings for some other use. Spoon some of the cabbage mixture on a plate and top with the fish. Spoon a little of the cooking liquid over the top of the fish and top the fish with the bacon.


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