Bacon makes this simply fried cabbage crave-worthy. As the cabbage cooks in the pan, it wilts, turns tender, and becomes sweet. White cabbage is our favorite for this, but other cabbage varieties will work. Keep in mind, though, that Napa cabbage will release more moisture and won’t brown as nicely in the pan. We love using peppered bacon for extra flavor, but your favorite type of bacon will also work.
3 thick slices peppered bacon, diced (3 ounces)
2 pounds white cabbage, core removed and chopped (10 cups)
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or more to taste
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Fresh ground black pepper
Add bacon, in one layer, to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the fat renders and the bacon is crispy; 6 to 8 minutes. Take the pan off of the heat, and then use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a bowl and save for later.
Remove all the bacon fat from the pan except for one tablespoon. (Leave more or less, depending on your preference. One tablespoon tastes great, but doesn’t make the cabbage greasy.)
Place the pan back onto medium-high heat then add the cabbage, garlic, red pepper flakes, and the salt. It might seem like too much cabbage for the pan, but as it cooks, the cabbage will wilt down.
Cook, occasionally stirring until the cabbage is tender and some of the cabbage begins to turn light brown; 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the mustard, apple cider vinegar, and the reserved cooked bacon. Taste then adjust with more salt, pepper, and vinegar as needed.