About this time last year, I went on a Six Seasons tear, making half a dozen recipes, all of which I loved: the kale salad that started it all, gremolata-style roasted mushrooms, burnt carrots with honey and almonds, crushed and fried potatoes with crispy herbs, Brussels sprouts with lemon, anchovy, and Pecorino, and, skhug, which I could drizzle over anything but which I especially like with cauliflower and roasted delicata squash.
Here’s the latest hit to add to the list: roasted cabbage with walnuts, parmesan and balsamic. The recipe reminded me foremost how delicious roasted cabbage is without anything more than olive oil, salt and a hit of vinegar upon exiting the oven.
BUT, it also reminded me how little touches can bring an otherwise ordinary dish to a whole new level. Here, that touch comes by way of a bright, textured salsa made with olive oil, garlic, fresh lemon juice, and equal amounts of toasted walnuts, dried bread crumbs, and grated parmesan cheese. The salsa, which on its own tastes very lemony and a bit salty, gets spooned over the wedges of sweet, caramelized cabbage, which temper the sharpness.
I made this for dinner one night using a purply cabbage from our CSA, then made it again the following night using a head of Savoy cabbage. Both were delicious. I’ve been serving it alongside pizza, but I think it would be especially good with this parmesan-roasted chicken.
Here’s a play by play:
Cut the cabbage through the core into about 8-10 wedges.
Toss with olive oil and salt on a rimmed baking sheet; then roast for 15 minutes at 475ºF.
Meanwhile, gather your salsa ingredients…
…combine them in a bowl and…
When the cabbage is nicely bronzed, toss it with a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar or saba*.
Spoon the salsa over top and serve immediately with…
…pizza! Or whatever you like, of course. This is the dough from Bread Toast Crumbs, and it’s topped with crème fraîche, sautéed turnip greens (from the CSA), and parmesan. I made an Instagram Story of the whole process: from making the dough and stretching the rounds to topping the rounds and baking the pizzas on a Baking Steel to refrigerating the dough and storing till the next day, etc.
From Joshua McFadden’s Six Seasons
The original recipe calls for saba*, which I’ve never tasted, but which, according to Amazon, is made by “cooking selected grape musts, especially of Lambrusco or Trebbiano grapes, over fire,” and is the main ingredient in the production of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. Don’t feel you have to run out and buy a bottle —2 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar has been working just fine for me.
To toast walnuts: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spread the walnuts on a sheet pan. Transfer to the oven and cook for about 9 minutes or until the nuts are golden and smelling toasty. Remove, let cool, then, if you’re up for it, transfer to a tea towel and rub away the skins. Then transfer nuts to a sieve and shake to remove the papery skins.
To make dried bread crumbs: Preheat the oven to 250ºF. Pulse stale bread in a food processor until fine, like the texture of coarse polenta. Spread onto a rimmed sheet pan. Transfer to the oven and cook 45-60 minutes or until very dry—crumbs should take on very little color.
If you like video guidance, check out this Instagram Story.
- 1 head Savoy cabbage, cut into 8 to 10 wedges
- 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon saba* (see notes) or 2 tablespoons balsamic, I like white balsamic
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup toasted walnuts**
- 1/3 cup dried bread crumbs*** or panko
- 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for serving
- juice of 1 lemon
- Heat oven to 475ºF.
- Spread the cabbage wedges out onto a large sheet pan. Drizzle with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat, then spread back into a single layer. Transfer to the oven and roast for 15 minutes or until it’s browned and crisped around the edges and slightly softened in the center. Note: don’t be alarmed if you see extra-charred bits—this is going to happen, and some of the extra-crispy bits may be inedible. What you don’t want to happen is have the cabbage not be all the way cooked through. Plus, the perfectly bronzy bits are so, so good.
- Sprinkle the saba or vinegar over the cabbage and toss lightly to season them, trying to keep them intact.
- While the cabbage is roasting, put the garlic in a small bowl and pour on the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the walnuts, bread crumbs, parmesan, and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Stir and adjust the seasoning to taste.The texture is supposed to be like a “loose, sloppy salsa,” and to achieve this, you may need to add more lemon and olive oil. Both times I’ve made this, I’ve ended up using all of the lemon juice (so about 3 tablespoons total), and 2 more tablespoons olive oil. Also, the mixture itself may taste quite lemony and maybe a little salty … this is OK—when it hits the sweet cabbage, the sharp flavors will soften.
- Arrange the cabbage wedges on a platter. Spoon some of the walnut salsa over top—keep the extra handy in a small bowl at the table…you’ll want more with every bite. Grate a little more parmesan over top. If you wish, drizzle on more saba (or balsamic) or lemon.