If your thinking about cabbage is limited to a strong olfactory blast, boiling, and corned beef, let’s update. Here’s a new take on the cruciferous beauty from 1000 BCE Europe: roast it! You can easily create a main dish “steak” or an unusual and beloved sidedish, kind of like your cousin who shows up at Thanksgiving, leaves, and you think, “Why don’t I see her more often? She’s deliciously quirky!”
Listen: Okay, this is the deal, for a quirky cabbage, I recommend a little quirky Americana. How about M. Ward, “Here Comes the Sun Again,” or just about anything by Old Crow Medicine Show…start with “Down Home Girl.” You won’t be sorry, and that cabbage will be looking better and better as you groove to the harmonica.
Sip: Cabbage is versatile, so be bold; we’re eating it as a side dish tonight with a bright Chardonnay, Lot 340, from Cameron Hughes, the brilliant Californian vintner. The roast cabbage would also stand up to a red if you’re serving it as a “steak.” We recommend a Pinot Noir (such as Cazar from the Sonoma Coast, our favorite) or a Cotes du Rhone if you prefer the drier red, depending on what you serve as an accompaniment to the “steak.”
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Wash a cabbage whose size matches your crowd. Core the beauty. Slice it vertically toward the core into steaks. Arrange these on the parchment and dig around in your crazy drawer for your pastry brush. Pour some olive oil into a small dish and brush each steak with olive oil. Sprinkle each generously with kosher salt salt and pepper, or seasoning of your choice. A good black pepper adds a nice heat that complements the savory salt and the sweet caramelization that comes from roasting. Roast for 30 minutes on one side, turn, and roast for another 30 minutes or until browned and crisping on the edges. Tonight we’re serving these flavor bursts as a side dish with smoked and grilled Berkshire pork chops from our local butcher…but that’s another story, so stay tuned.