The Blooming Season


Roasted cabbage with blooming salad

This has got to be the most photogenic salad I’ve prepared myself. It’s just as good as it’s pretty too. The roasted cabbage “steaks” on the other hand turned out delicious despite resembling something very much anaemic and lifeless.

I’m always in awe when I discover a straightforward recipe using a staple ingredient like these Nigel Slater’s roasted cabbage discs. I was looking for something simple, preferably excluding meat but still nurturing and using what’s in season. Slicing whole cabbage to “steaks” would never have occurred to me. I call them steaks whereas originally they’re named discs. Whatever their name it’s a surprisingly simple and satisfying dish.

Not only was I happy with that meal, my man, a very carnivorous man, loved it just as much. So, let the lack of meaty substance not deter you. It’s good to break from the norm now and again, you know.

Cabbage itself is never too good looking on its own. No matter what other attributes one attaches to it, good looks are certainly not cabbage’s strongest point. It doesn’t smell appealing either. It’s probably one of the most overlooked and underestimated vegetables. But it keeps well and is available fresh throughout winter when most of the other vegetables are out of season and imported. It can be eaten raw, pickled, sautéed, roasted, whatnot, and its preparation requires little time and skill.

If you’re new to cooking with cabbage here’s a really simple recipe by Orangette that I believe to be a good starting point to appreciate cabbage as an easy ingredient even more. As Orangette clearly stated before me it’s as plain as it gets. I’ve been using this method (as pointed out in her post) for years for a weekday quick lunch and I can still remember clearly my son’s utter reluctance when he watched me making it for lunch for the first time. The only thing that was working for me during cooking was the hot substance (thinly sliced fresh chilli, dried chilli flakes, a few drops of Tabasco, spoonfuls of harissa or sambal oelek – whatever is on hand in whatever quantities are preferred) that is used and this convinced him to try the dish in the end and he was kind of approving. Approving being a really strong word in teenagers’ world, you know.

Give cabbage a chance. Looks are overrated.