Mardi Gras means different things to different people. To some, it’s an invitation for bacchanal before Lent. To others, it’s a chance to celebrate their community. As a grandchild of ancestors that participated in the Great Migration, it’s a reminder of the rich culture broken into pieces and carried to distant lands.
I remember being a child and listening to the stories my grandfather shared of home. He loved to tell me the history of Mardi Gras in the big city and all the joy shared by the community. Never one to sugar coat things, he also shared how Mardi Gras in Black communities looked different than the celebrations in white communities. His frankness about the fight for racial justice in the midst of celebration gave clarity to the New Orleans I got to know as an adult.
New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are a colorful tapestry of so many stories and experiences, which constantly serve as inspiration for me. Since the colors of Mardi Gras are my current inspiration, I decided to make dishes that packed a colorful punch. Today’s inspiration is purple.
Purple is one of three Mardi Gras colors, and represents justice. The road to justice can be dark, fiery and also a little sweet. The journey is also grounded in humility. I decided to encapsulate this meaning by making a sautéed purple cabbage dish.
Cabbage is a humble ingredient that shines with a little help. I leaned on acidity from apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce to brighten up the cabbage. I also added a sprinkle of chopped mustard greens and cayenne to produce a peppery flavor. This meal came together relatively quickly, so it’s perfect for weeknights! I ended up serving it with andouille sausage.
Sautéed Purple Cabbage
2 tbsp. broth of choice or water
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small (1 ½-2 lbs.) head of purple (red) cabbage, thinly sliced
¼ c. mustard greens, finely chopped (optional)
Salt, to taste
If you don't have Worcestershire sauce, feel free to use soy sauce.
The mustard greens are optional, but add a nice bite. You can substitute it with another peppery green like arugula.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Special Equipment: Large skillet and cooking spoon or spatula.
In a small bowl, combine broth, Worcestershire, vinegar and cayenne. Set aside.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds.
Add the cabbage and stir until the leaves begin to wilt. Toss in some salt and the liquid mixture from earlier. Fry until the cabbage is crisp yet tender, about 7 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Remove from heat when finished cooking and toss in the mustard greens till combined. Serve warm.