Got cabbage? Great. Make this recipe. It's very simple; it won't take you more than a few minutes. No grill? No problem. Roast the cabbage instead, and pour this tangy, spicy, Thai-inspired dressing all over, its garlicky juices soaking into the roasted warmth of the cabbage, smoky marshmallow-burnt edges adding a little crunch. This is how you eat cabbage, and just cabbage, for dinner, and consider yourself pleased to do so. That's how I feel about it, anyway.
Yes, roasted cabbage is really sublime; it mellows out the funky cabbage smell and taste and turns this somewhat aggressive vegetable into something mellow and sweet.
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)