Fall Apart Caramelised Cabbage Smothered in Anchovies and Dill
This comforting recipe for caramelised cabbage with anchovies and dill from Andy Baraghani’s The Cook You Want To Be makes a wonderfully simple, salty side dish, perfect for a flavour-packed midweek meal or festive occasion.
From the book
My love for cabbage runs deep, as deep as my love for Diana Ross’s 1983 iconic Central Park concert in the rain (it’s a YouTube must-watch). And yet, this recipe was never supposed to be in this book. I did a pop-up dinner one night and, at the last minute, decided to add this dish to round out the menu. The cabbage gets seared hard on the stove top before it goes into the oven to soften to an almost melty texture. While still warm, the cabbage is spooned with an intense garlic-anchovy sauce made with so much dill. The sauce drapes the cabbage and sneaks into its every layer. The dish ended up becoming my favourite one that night. The pistachio cake that I made for dessert was a close second. When you make this dish (not if), you’ll be shocked that you might eat the whole thing in one sitting.
|1 head||basic green or purple cabbage or fancy savoy|
|¾ cup (180ml)||extra-virgin olive oil|
|4||oil-packed anchovies, drained and finely chopped|
|1||garlic clove, finely grated|
|1 cup (9g)||coarsely chopped dill|
|½ cup (50g)||toasted walnuts, finely chopped|
|2 tsp||finely grated lemon zest|
|1 tbsp||fresh lemon juice|
|Freshly ground pepper|
You will need: a large cast-iron or stainless-steel skillet.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF/175ºC.
Halve the cabbage through the core. Cut each half into three wedges, keeping the core intact.
Set a large cast-iron or stainless-steel skillet over medium-high heat. Add ¼ cup of the olive oil and heat until it is hot and shimmering. Season the cabbage with salt and then place it in the skillet. Cook, using tongs to press down on the cabbage, so it becomes deeply charred and kind of tender (it’ll soften more in the oven), 3 to 5 minutes per side. If your skillet isn’t large enough to brown all the pieces at once, do it in batches.
Remove the skillet from the heat and carefully cover it with aluminum foil (the pan will be hot!). Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the cabbage is very tender, 30 to 40 minutes. When it’s ready, a paring knife should slide in and out of the cabbage core like butter.
While the cabbage is in the oven, in a medium bowl, stir together the anchovies, garlic, dill, walnuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, and remaining ½ cup olive oil. Season with salt and plenty of pepper. If you let it sit for 10 minutes, the flavours will soften and meld.
Once the cabbage is done, arrange the pieces on a platter and spoon the sauce all around and between the melty layers. Sprinkle with more pepper and serve.
Choosing cabbage: Green and purple cabbage are interchangeable here; they’re both firm and dense, intensely crunchy, consistent when raw but even better grilled or roasted to death. And cheap! Love ’em. Napa cabbage has a longer ovular shape with a crunchy base and tender leafy tops; I like it for quick stir-fries, or torn up, massaged slightly, and eaten raw. It’s juicy and light, not as dense as those other guys. Savoy is harder to find—it’s the Cabbage Patch Doll cabbage—with dramatic beautiful leaves straight from a Caravaggio painting. I use it the same way as conventional cabbage, like in this caramelised cabbage recipe. It makes everything you cook worthy of a still-life painting.