I began making variations on this dish about a year ago and since then it has become — and I’m sorry, I know how annoying unrelenting, gasping praise of every recipe that crosses your social media threshold can sound, despite feeling certain that here it’s warranted — everything. It’s a warm salad for cold weather. It’s Starter Cabbage for people who are cabbage suspect (savoy is lacier and less heavy than the white/red stuff). It’s a quick vegetable dish that’s not a salad or bland broccoli that my kids, by some rare miracle, agree to (they like the crispy crackly outer leaves). It’s even better from the tray (which keeps it hot) than it is from a plate, which is basically a reward for being as lazy as I prefer to be. With prep and even oven-warming, it takes exactly 20 minutes to make. Finally, it’s the kind of humble, economical dish that feels good at a time of year when we need to shell out for so many extra things.
The recipe is inspired by one in that astoundingly good vegetable cookbook I talk about a lot here (see: this asparagus salad and this soup) because I think (ahem, after my own two) you might enjoy it a whole lot: Six Seasons. I made, okay, quite a few changes — the cooking time was too long without flipping it, and it’s better when cooked on two sides. The original recipe has saba (an acidic wine reduction) or vinegar but I got the flavor I wanted with just lemon. There were breadcrumbs but I skip them; the cabbage is roasted in butter, not olive oil, but I found it just smoked a lot. I add lemon zest, since I’m already using a lemon. The nuts are already toasted in the recipe, but mine never are so I worked it into my take, below. Honestly, I haven’t looked at the original recipe in so long (you won’t need to once you’ve made it once or twice), I had to pull down the book just to see what changes I’ve made.
I’ve also made the dressing more complex at times. A minced anchovy or tablespoon of minced olives or capers goes great here. I’ve put the parmesan on first and returned the tray briefly to the oven to singe it on a little. I’ve also skipped the parmesan and you can too; it’s really not doing the heavy lifting here. I know we egg-eater-types say you can put an egg on anything, but here, you really can. If I was left to my own devices and not pulled constantly in directions by the lure of newer recipes I can’t wait to try and the background noise of people with their own opinions about how often we should eat cabbage for dinner, a pan of this with a crispy egg or two on top would be a weekly habit. I’m hoping it can be yours, instead.
Randomly, New Orleans: I got to spend 48 kid-free hours in New Orleans a couple weeks ago and wrote up our whirlwind itinerary here, should you be interested. [There’s also one for our Ireland trip this summer, and I owe you one for a long weekend in Paris in June. No, I don’t always get to travel this much, but it’s been a lucky year — this written from a hotel in Cincinnati, no less.]
Six months ago: Potato Vareniki
One year ago: Drop Cornbread Biscuits
Two years ago: Endive Salad with Toasted Breadcrumbs and Walnuts
Three years ago: Root Vegetable Gratin
Four years ago: Kale and Caramelized Onion Stuffing
Five years ago: Smoked Whitefish Dip with Horseradish and Sticky Toffee Pudding
Six years ago: Perfect Uncluttered Chicken Stock
Seven years ago: Granola-Crusted Nuts
Eight years ago: Baked Pumpkin and Sour Cream Puddings
Nine years ago: Spaghetti with Chickpeas
Ten years ago: Moroccan-Spiced Spaghetti Squash
Eleven years ago: Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Garlic Chips
Twelve years ago: Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes with Sautéed Apples
Thirteen years ago: Dreamy Cream Scones
Roasted Cabbage with Walnuts and Parmesan
Don’t use too big a cabbage. I’ve gotten some shockingly large ones from the grocery that were too dense inside to get a nice crisp to them, without steaming first. Go with two small rather than one giant one, if you have options.
- 1 medium-large (1 3/4 pounds) or two small heads savoy cabbage
- 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Scant 1/2 cup (1.75 ounces) walnut halves and pieces
- 1 large or 2 smaller garlic cloves
- 1 large lemon
- Red pepper flakes, such as Aleppo (optional)
- Grated parmesan, to taste
Heat oven to 475ºF. Remove any damaged outer leaves of cabbage and cut it 8 (for small ones) to 12 (for a large one) wedges. Coat a large baking sheet with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Arrange cabbage wedges in one layer, drizzling or brushing them with 2 more tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, until charred underneath (don’t panic if you see a few thin black edges; they’re going to taste amazing). Use a spatula to flip each piece over and roast for 5 more minutes, until the edges of the cabbage are dark brown.
Meanwhile, while cabbage roasts, place nuts on a smaller tray or baking dish and roast them next to the cabbage for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove and scatter them, still hot, onto a cutting board and coarsely chop them. Scoop into a bowl and finely grate the zest of half a lemon and all of the garlic over it. Add remaning 3 tablespoons olive oil to walnuts, a few pinches of salt and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. If you’ve got a couple minutes to let it all infuse as it cools, let it rest. When ready, squeeze the juice of half your lemon in and stir to combine. Adjust flavors to taste, adding more lemon if needed; you want this dressing to be robust.
The moment the cabbage comes out of the oven, spoon the walnut dressing over the wedges. Grate parmesan all over, to taste. Serve immediately, while piping hot. There will be no leftovers.
Tools: This is forever my favorite spatula, and particularly helpful here when you have unweidly wedges to flip. I prefer a Microplane rasp with more surface area and use this one.
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