Supreme over a bowl to catch the juice:
4 oranges, blood oranges, or a...
It's spring, you guys!
While spring officially began weeks ago, winter persisted and gave us an extra dose of cold, nasty weather. A far cry from last year when I was hardening off my tomato starts in March!
In reality, though, this year has been more "normal" than years past, and I really have nothing to gripe about. We live in a place that gets little snow and where the temperatures sometimes swing into the low 20s. But for the most part, winter here is just wet and cold and depressingly brown.
Because it is spring, you may be expecting peas or asparagus or rhubarb or something lovely like that. We would love to oblige. Unfortunately, we haven't been to the grocery store since returning from our spring vacation, so cabbage it is!
Cabbage is not the sexiest vegetable. In fact, it suffers from something of a public relations problem owing to decades--probably centuries--of being cooked to death and sending its sulfurous fumes into many a household.
Even worse, cabbage cooked extensively tends to be flavorless and a bit slimy. Not a desirable end for a vegetable that doesn't have a whole lot of flavor to begin with.
But cabbage is still a staple in our kitchen. One reason for this is its persistently economical price tag. Frankly, it's right up there with collard greens when it comes to cheap vegetables we love. We usually chop and add it to salads for texture, and sometimes we sauté it with lots of onions and garlic. Once a year, I make a big batch of sauerkraut, and occasionally stuffed cabbage leaves make it onto the menu.
But there's another approach for cabbage that might just be my new favorite--roasting. It's no secret that roasting improves almost any vegetable. It condenses flavors, promotes browning and crisping, and is both remarkably simple and impressive. Cabbage benefits enormously from this method--it crisps up around the edges, giving its stolid texture a much-needed jolt. The brown bits only improve cabbage's flavor
But even with such treatment, cabbage needs a little help being awesome. That's not a criticism--not all vegetables can be as dramatic as artichokes and as adorable as little fingerling potatoes. To really dress up my roasted cabbage, I made a simple little dukkah-spiked yogurt sauce to serve with it.
Dukkah is an Egyptian condiment made with toasted nuts, seeds, spices, and herbs. The recipe is infinitely variable, so please change the proportions or ingredients to suit yourself. When I make something like this, I almost always make a bunch of it. After all, it takes as much time to make a little as it does to make a lot. This is the sort of thing that can dress up your dishes for weeks. But, if you're not sure whether you'll like it or not, feel free to halve the recipe.
Use your leftover dukkah on eggs, over pasta dishes, soups, hummus, vegetables, beans, etc. It pretty much dresses up any dish. Particularly one made from the humble cabbage.
Preheat the oven to 425˚F.
Cut into 1-inch thick wedges, leaving the core intact to hold the wedges together:
1/2 large head of green or red cabbage (or use 1/4 head each of green and red cabbage)
You should get about 8 wedges from 1/2 head of cabbage. Rub the wedges well with:
The olive oil will help with the browning, so don't be stingy! Place the wedges in a roasting pan and roast until beginning to crisp, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Dukkah, see recipe below
When the dukkah is finished, make the yogurt sauce. Combine in a small bowl:
1/2 cup whole Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons Dukkah
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt to taste
Serve the roasted cabbage wedges with the yogurt sauce and extra dukkah, if desired.
Makes about 2 cups
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add and toast until browned:
1 cup nuts (this can be a mixture of pistachios, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and/or cashews)
Remove the nuts to the bowl of a food processor to cool slightly. Add to the skillet:
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup coriander seeds
1/4 cup cumin seeds
(1 teaspoon ajwain seeds--alternately, you can stir in a teaspoon of dried thyme after toasting the seed mixture)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Toast until fragrant and the seeds begin to make popping sounds. Remove to the bowl of the food processor to cool slightly. Add to the ingredients in the food processor:
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried oregano
(1 teaspoon dried mint)
(1/2 teaspoon dried preserved lemon)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Pulse until the mixture is combined and roughly ground. Do not process to a paste or a fine powder--you want it to have texture.