roasted savoy cabbage
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I didn’t like many vegetables when I was a kid. I was a very obedient child so even though carrots frightened me, lettuce made me retch and broccoli gave me nightmares, I’d chew and swallow my hateful sides with my dinners. My mother wasn’t a very skilled cook, let’s put it mildly, and my father had the ‘don’t have what you like, like what you have’ prerogative. Grated carrot salad – bleurgh, still not keen on grated carrot.
But savoy cabbage marked the day with a white stone. It was vile to my present mind: overcooked, under-seasoned and limp and grey. But it was the only vegetable I liked and that’s to say a lot. It would arrive in quarters, like in my recipe here, braised on the hob instead of infused with herbs in the oven, and the herbs there were none to infuse. There was just garlic clinging to the leaves and far too little salt and pepper. I adored it.
This dish takes me back but it’s really good, I say with relief. Frankly, cooking better than my mum did isn’t a difficult trick. Still, savoy cabbage is one of my favourite veg – only I can cook it so much better.
- 1 head of savoy cabbage
- salt and pepper
- 3 tbsp. rapeseed oil
- 300ml (1¼ cup) beef or vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 tbsp. dry breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan
- a few sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped
Remove the outer leaves from the cabbage and trim the base. Cut it crosswise into quarters.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Heat 2 tbsp. of the oil in an ovenproof casserole or skillet with a lid (or borrow a just about fitting lid from another pan).
Arrange the cabbage quarters in the skillet and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes on each cut side, until charred.
Turn them cut sides up, lower the heat and add the stock and butter. Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven for 20 minutes.
In the meantime toss together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, thyme and the remaining tablespoon of oil. After the 20 minutes lift the lid from the cabbage dish, sprinkle the breadcrumb mix over the quarters and return to the oven, uncovered, for another 10 minutes.
Serve as a side with fish, sausages, pork or just on its own with crusty bread.