Savoy cabbage is typically served as a cooked vegetable, but here the raw cabbage, shaved into thin shreds, makes a wonderful salad with great, resilient texture. Crisp rendered strips of speck (or bacon or prosciutto as alternatives) are a great complement, and the hot vinegar dressing is delicious.
For shredding the cabbage, I like to use a mandoline slicer. These versatile cutting implements were once quite costly and usually found only in professional kitchens. Today, though, you can buy a decent simple mandoline for under $20, and I recommend that every home cook have one.
- A small head Savoy cabbage, 1 pound or slightly larger
- ½ pound thinly sliced speck (or bacon or prosciutto), cut into ½-inch strips
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ cup red-wine vinegar
You will need a mandolin slicer, or sharp chef’s knife recommended equipment: A mandoline slicer or sharp chef’s knife; a heavy-bottomed skillet or sauté pan, 10-inch diameter.
Core the cabbage, and cut it into two or three wedges. With the mandoline or knife, slice the wedges into fine shreds, and heap them in a large bowl.
Cut the speck (or bacon or prosciutto) into ½-inch strips or ribbons. Set the skillet over medium heat, pour in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and scatter the strips in the pan. Cook the speck, stirring and spreading the ribbons, until they’ve rendered their fat and are crisp on the edges, about 5 minutes. Blot them on paper towels, then toss in with the cabbage. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over the cabbage, season with salt and freshly ground pepper, and toss again.
Set the empty skillet over high heat, pour in the red-wine vinegar, swirling the pan to deglaze it, and bring the vinegar to a boil. Cook rapidly to reduce the vinegar by half. Immediately pour it over the salad and toss well.
Serve warm or at room temperature.