How to Cook Savoy Cabbage and Love it!

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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
  • Olive oil
  • 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!

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9 Responses to How to Cook Savoy Cabbage and Love it!

  1. Donna in Delaware December 15, 2010 at 10:06 am #

    Sounds delish! Never heard of this dish. I use to date an Italian man many moons ago when I lived in New York. At Christmastime, the family had lots and lots of food, but never this dish. Maybe it’s a regional dish in Italy, because I am sure this family would have made it for the holidays. They had about 25 different foods at Christmas dinner.

    I am definitely going to try this because I love cabbage and cook all different cabbages all of the time throughout the year. I adore hot peppers. The only drawback is, I don’t care for anchovies! I’ll use kosher salt instead, it may not have the same flavor punch, but it’ll take care of the saltiness called for in the recipe.

  2. Donna in Delaware December 15, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    Can I substitute maybe, salt cod?

  3. Michael Jordan December 15, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    I can never seem to find savoy cabbage in my area. Is napa cabbage a good substitute?

  4. Vanessa December 15, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

    I’ve seen a similar recipe with January King Cabbage, also deelish!

  5. maria (farm country kitchen) December 15, 2010 at 6:16 pm #

    I think Napa cabbage would work better than regular cabbage. Donna, I hated anchovies until I tried them cooked like this!!!! it’s like a salty crunchy bread crumb mixture — not really fishy at all.

  6. Maya December 15, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

    This is indeed surprisingly delicious.

  7. Donna in Delaware December 16, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

    Thanks Maria. I’ll trust your judgment and try the anchovies!.

  8. Kathleen Riley-Daniels December 26, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    This looks good — except for the anchovies. I’ll try it for other folks, but just can’t get my head around the fish element.

  9. Beth April 18, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

    Nothing ventured nothing gained. I can hardly wait to try it.

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