Cabbage is the Rodney Dangerfield of vegetables.
It doesn’t get nearly the respect it deserves. It seems too plain, too basic, too cheap to be worthy of much attention.
But just consider how integral it is to slaws, salads, soups, corned beef, and so many Russian and Polish staples.
If that doesn’t convince you, surely “Roasted Savoy Cabbage Wedges, Caesar-Style” will.
This incredibly easy dish features all the arresting flavors of Caesar salad — but with roasted cabbage instead.
The recipe is from All About Dinner: Simple Meals, Expert Advice” (W.W. Norton & Company), of which I received a review copy. It’s the fabulous new book by James Beard Award-winning Molly Stevens, a gifted cooking instructor, recipe developer and food writer who lives in Vermont.
Her cookbooks are among the ones I reach for most on my shelves. That’s because her recipes are designed for home-cooks. That doesn’t mean they are dumbed down in any way. In fact, they possess uncanny flavor and spot-on techniques.
Her latest book follows that mode with 150 recipes designed to perk up your dinner-making repertoire with finds such as “Whole-Grain Sorghum with Sauteed Mushrooms and Miso,” “Spicy-Sweet Baby Back Riblets,” “Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Cumin, Coriander, and Chile,” and “Raspberry Jam and Almond Tart.”
With the recent E. coli scares about romaine lettuce, which are thankfully over now, it’s nice to have an alternative in case another incident ever erupts when romaine is recalled and you’re jonesing for a Caesar salad.
Savoy cabbage, with its green, wrinkly leaves, is a perfect stand-in because it is sturdy and crunchy — even more so than romaine. When roasted on high heat like this, its outer leaves get charred and as papery crisp as potato chips.
After an initial roasting, the cabbage wedges get drizzled with a garlic-anchovy-infused olive oil, before being showered with Parmesan and panko bread crumbs, and returned to the oven to brown a tad more.
The dressing, coupled with the Parmesan, really makes the cabbage taste just like Caesar salad. What’s more, the high heat caramelizes the cabbage’s natural sugars, bringing its inherent sweetness to the forefront.
The recipe states that one head of Savoy, cooked this way, will serve 6 to 8. To be honest, my husband and I could have Hoover-ed the entire thing just between the two of us. I’m guessing it’ll be the same for you.
Roasted Savoy Cabbage Wedges, Caesar-Style
(Serves 6 to 8, or potentially only 2)
1 medium head Savoy cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 ounce Parmesan, finely grated (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs made from day-old bread or panko crumbs
Heat the oven to 400 degrees convection (425 degrees non-convection) with a rack near the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, if you have it. (If you crumple the sheet, then uncrumple it, the parchment will lay flatter on the baking sheet.)
Cut and season the cabbage: Discard any bruised or discolored outer leaves. It the root end looks dried out, trim off a thin slice. Steady the cabbage on the cutting board with the core facing up and, holding it with your non-working hand, slice through the center of the core to give you 2 even halves. Set each half cut side down on the board and cut in half again, and then again, giving you 8 even wedges, each held together by a portion of the core.
Pile the wedges into a large bowl, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Use your hands to gently toss the cabbage wedges, coating them evenly with oil and doing your best to keep them intact. Arrange cut side down on the baking sheet, leaving a little space between them.
Infuse the oil with the garlic and anchovies: Pour the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil into a small saucepan. Add the garlic, anchovies, and a small pinch of salt and heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until t he anchovies begin to melt, about 5 minutes; don’t let things brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
Prep the topping: Combine the Parmesan and bread crumbs in a small bowl.
Roast the cabbage until the edges start to brown, about 15 minutes. Carefully flip the wedges, using a spatula or tongs, and return to the oven until the cabbage is tender and the edges are starting to crisp up, another 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and increase the temperature to 450 degrees convection (475 degrees non-convection). Spoon the infused olive oil (along with any bits of garlic and anchovy) over the wedges, then top with the bread crumbs and cheese. Return to the oven and toast until the tops are browned and some of the outer leaves are charred, about 5 minutes.
Serve hot or warm.
From “All About Dinner” by Molly Stevens
More Molly Stevens Recipes to Try: Fig and Pistachio Stuffing