When Life Gives You Cabbages


One of the benefits of living in the Bay Area is the even, mild climate we enjoy nearly year-round. Coupled with the rise of urban gardening and the subsequent ease of finding resources and support, it makes nurturing your own backyard garden an achievable goal for most of us (I say “most” because some of us, regardless of the availability of local fertilizer or community-sourced tips, will never be able to keep a plant alive long enough to see it bear fruit). Having once managed to produce an edible head of lettuce, I can tell you that the result of this achievement is a distinct and deep-seated pleasure. To cook with food tended by your own hands is supremely satisfying. Even if you only have room for a window box, grab a basil plant at Trader Joe’s; plucking the fragrant leaves and scattering them over your pasta offers a visceral sense of gratification. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this is my favorite recipe that we have prepared so far.

The cabbages below were planted and carefully cultivated in an Albany backyard, blooming under dappled sunlight until they were ready to eat. A helpful assistant carefully harvested them, after which they were cut into wedges along the stem and brushed with oil. Our grill-master (and aforementioned assistant) executed a complicated and mystifying series of steps to char and cook the wedges. Perfectly tender, we topped them with a lime-herb dressing that provided a tart counterpoint to the sweetness of the cabbage. The resulting dish was more than we expected: simple, a little unusual, and intensely flavorful. For all of the verbiage I could shove at this recipe, I think it deserves to be left at that.
cabbages Grilled Cabbage with Herb Lime Dressing (First We Eat)

  • 1 Green Cabbage
  • 1 Purple Cabbage
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 Cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 7 Sprigs fresh cilantro
  • 7 Sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon cayenne pepper

Cut cabbage into six wedges making sure that the stalk of the cabbage makes it into each slice – this is what will hold you cabbage wedges together on the grill. Use a grilling brush to brush vegetable oil over the cabbage and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Put on the grill for about 4-6 minutes per side or until you have some grill marks and the outside cabbage leaves are soft. Combine lime juice, olive oil, garlic, cilantro, parsley, cayenne pepper, and a pinch of salt into a food processor and blend until well combined. Pour over grilled cabbage and serve immediately. Enjoy! cabbagegrill

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