But grilling is even better! It adds even more smokiness and char. Like I said, though, if you don't have a grill just pan grill the cabbage, or broil it. Any way you do it, just make sure the edges get a little blackened, and the cabbage is warmed through.
The dressing comes together in just a minute or two; it's a balanced Thai-inspired sauce of lime, garlic, and salt.
This has been my favorite lunch lately; I grill the cabbage in the evening and eat it in big wedges, warmed up in the microwave. If serving as a side dish your guests may blink as you shovel an entire wedge of cabbage onto their plates, but it goes a lot faster than you might think. I served this along with a hearty lamb dish a couple weeks ago at a dinner party, and my guests ate up every scrap.
Grilled Cabbage Wedges with Spicy Lime Dressing
serves 8 as a side dish
Juice of 3 limes (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional - leave out for a vegetarian or vegan dish)
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Lime wedges, to serve
1 head green cabbage
Grapeseed or canola oil
Heat a gas or charcoal grill. Whiz the limes, olive oil, fish sauce, garlic, cilantro, salt, cayenne and sugar in a small chopper or blender until the sauce is pale orange and the garlic is pulverized. Set aside.
Remove the loosest, toughest outer leaves from the cabbage, and cut into 8 evenly-sized wedges. Do not remove the stalk or inner core. Lightly brush the wedges with grapeseed or canola oil.
Place the wedges on the grill and cover. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the edges of each layer are blackened and the cabbage is beginning to soften. Flip each wedge over, cover the grill, and cook for an additional 5 to 7 minutes on the other side. Remove the cabbage when it is beginning to wilt, but is still firm in the middle. (This will also be somewhat a matter of taste; I like it fairly crispy still, but you may prefer it more well-done.) If necessary, turn the heat down or move the wedges to a cooler part of the grill so they don't burn. But don't be afraid of those blackened edges; you want a lot of grill and char marks on the cabbage to give it smoky flavor.
Take the cabbage off the grill and arrange the wedges on a plate. Pour the dressing over top and serve immediate, with wedges of lime to garnish.
(Images: Faith Durand)