The crispy charred edges are the best part.
During a recent family trip to the north Georgia mountains, Hunter Lewis, editor-in-chief of Cooking Light and Food & Wine picked up a head of green cabbage from a roadside produce stand. With the intention of whipping up some simple roasted cabbage, Lewis stumbled across an even better form of the hearty-leaved, cruciferous vegetable—fully caramelized cabbage wedges. This pleasant discovery came about when Lewis did something that we are all guilty of... putting food in the oven and completely forgetting about it. After slicing the green cabbage into 1-inch-thick wedges, with the core left in, he generously salted and drizzled olive oil over the wedges and placed them on a sheet pan to roast at 400°F just until tender. And then, he forgot them. Ultimately, the chef-turned-food editor roasted those wedges for about an hour and a half, only to find that his absent minded “mistake” resulted in cabbage more delightful than he ever imagined. This long and slow roasting yields “thin, frilly edges that are charred,” Lewis says. The cabbage’s leaves hold a subtle sweetness, that when roasted at length, provide you with the brown, crispy, deliciously caramelized bits. When dinner was ready, the charred wedges were served alongside grilled ribeye, beans, salted tomato slices for a well-rounded supper. The real question of the night was whether or not the family approved of this darker-than-expected veggie; according to Lewis, father of two young daughters,“They were eating with their hands—which is the highest compliment.”
Lewis is not the only one with cabbage on the brain. In Cooking Light’s November 2017 issue, food editor Hannah Klinger sat down with the queen of greens and author of The Book of Greens: A Cook's Compendium of 40 Varieties, from Arugula to Watercress, with More Than 175 Recipes, Chef Jenn Louis, to discuss the reimagined coolness of cabbage. Louis says, “Finding new ways to prepare cabbage is what makes it so fun.” In the magazine, she shares her version of roasted cabbage wedges that are flavored with orange and crushed caraway seeds, further proving that simply roasting can be an easy, yet inventive, way to get cabbage on your table for dinner tonight.
Many of us were first introduced to green cabbage in the form of runny, cold coleslaw or stewed down as a side for corned beef. It’s sometimes stuffed with a ground meat and rice mixture and even pickled, but if none of these preparations have sold you on the veggie, roasting is definitely worth a try. There are several varieties of cabbage available at the grocery store, with green and purple cabbage being the most common. Roasted cabbage wedges could possibly be the new cauliflower steak. Who knows? We just might be on the brink of a cabbage renaissance. If you decide to pick up a head of cabbage to roast (longer than you think you should) this week, make sure it is heavy and full, and be sure to remove any wilted outer leaves.