“Cabbage is my favorite summer vegetable!” is a sentence I’ve never heard anyone say. But we’ve received a full head of the Cruciferous veg two weeks in a row from our CSA, and since then I’ve been fixated on making it a star.
I don’t just mean a “side” star in the form of coleslaw or kraut. I’ve been wanting to make a cabbage recipe that is hearty and feels like the center of a meal, without somehow reverting to the cabbage recipes that many of us remember unfondly. Yes, I’m talking about the cabbage rolls, over boiled and soggy, or dare I say the “cabbage diet” soup that friends in high school would eat to shed a few pounds before prom or senior week.
And if I dig deeper into my negative cabbage memories, I can pinpoint the moment they started. I remember watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the Gene Wilder version of course) and thinking, poor Charlie and his family. All they have to eat is cabbage soup. Then Charlie says to his grandpa Joe (my grandfather’s name was also Grandpa Joe, so maybe this has a deeper meaning for me), “I’m fed up with cabbage water–it’s not enough!” I even found the perfect YouTube clip to jog your memory.
But say that we collaboratively began to work together to let this negative image of cabbage fade into distant memory. And what if we begin to treat it with the trendiness of say, kale or cauliflower. I mean, take Brussels sprouts for instance, they’ve become cool again! Can’t we bring cabbage full circle too?
I think this grilled cabbage recipe can. It’s not only beautiful, but the texture the cabbage gets from grilling is mind blowing. It’s charred and has a few softer layers on the outside, but keeps its inner crunch. And if you don’t have a grill (like me), don’t fret. A grill pan does the trick. And if you do have a grill, this is the perfect excuse to NOT cook inside if you don’t have to.
The buttermilk blue cheese dressing gives it an earthiness, the tomatoes give it the pop of acid. And for those of you who aren’t vegetarian, if you add bacon here, I mean–it doesn’t get much better. I decided to omit it here, because we were serving the cabbage salad with a side of skirt steak. Yes, a side of steak. Because this salad is a star.
Grilled Cabbage Salad
Makes enough for 4 people
1 head of cabbage, quartered with the core remaining
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 lb of blue cheese
1 bunch of chives
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp crumbled blue cheese
1/2 of chives, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Get the grill pan nice and hot so that it’s smoking. Open the windows.
Season the cabbage wedges with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on grill cut sides down, let each side cook for 3-4 minutes until charred and the outside is wilted and inside is still crisp.
For dressing, add buttermilk, mayo, blue cheese and mix well, getting the blue cheese incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Finish with chives. Set aside.
Once the cabbage is beautifully charred, arrange on a plate. Add cherry tomatoes, blue cheese and dressing. Add remaining chunks of blue cheese and chives. Serve warm with a side of whatever floats your boat.