I do love my cabbage, which is obvious if you have a little high school French. (And if you haven’t, “chou” means cabbage and “fou” means crazy). It’s a simple, salt-of-the-earth veggie that grows absolutely everywhere. I predict it will soon overtake Brussels sprouts as the Next Big Veggie. And, as far as preparations go, roasted cabbage raises the ante considerably from the terrifying boiled cabbage of yore.
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Like all the other roasted veggies this week—kale, cauliflower, and carrots—roasted cabbage is ridiculously easy. Unlike them, cabbage takes on a decadent quality. Roasting brings out the cabbage’s sweetness. The fat that you use makes every bite feel sumptuous. The seasonings you choose up the ante a little more, though just salt and pepper work beautifully, too. I loved the seasonings in this recent Cooking Light recipe , though I did find working with softened butter to be a challenge. I recommend melting half the amount of butter, mixing with an equal amount of oil, then tossing the seasonings directly on top. It’s a lovely combo.
Also departing from most other vegetables, cabbage needs a little bit of extra love. Cut it in wedges; depending on the size of your cabbage, 4-6 is a good number per half of cabbage. As you can see from the photos here, I only had about a 1/4 wedge on hand, so I just cut it in 3 pieces. But don’t toss in the oil and spices with wild abandon. Rather, gently turn the cabbage in the fat. For extra-decadence, melt a little butter with the oil; cabbage and butter, like cabbage and pork, make each other very, very happy. A little sugar (I like coconut) adds some nice carmelization and a little more sweetness.
Then, place the wedges on a cookie sheet, and roast as usual. At the 20-minute mark, turn the cabbage carefully with a spatula. If you can keep the wedges at least somewhat intact, they work out to be excellently-sized portions. And even if they fall apart, you can still see the demarcation lines pretty clearly.
Roasted Cabbage: The Recipe
On the groaning board that many of us create this time of year, cranberries should be present. They possess an extraordinary ability to cut through the fat, heavy, savory tastes of the season with a just-right bang of tart sweetness. For some folks, cooked cranberry sauce does that trick perfectly. (See the recipe for Ruby Red Cranberry Beet Sauce.) But for others, only something raw will suffice—particularly given the scarcity of raw food at countless holiday gatherings. Enter Sparkling Raw Cranberry Orange Relish.
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If cooked cranberry sauce is easy, Sparkling Raw Cranberry Orange Relish is downright ridiculous. Just put raw cranberries and orange flesh in a food processor, buzz til finely chopped. Then put the mixture in a bowl, stir in sugar to your taste, and boom, you’re done. I ended up adding ginger at the last minute and loved it.
And for those who want to be careful about sugar intake, Sparkling Raw Cranberry Orange Relish offers tremendous flexibility. With a cooked cranberry sauce, you have to cook the sugar or it won’t dissolve properly. So if you start low and then try to add sugar in, you could end up with a gritty sauce. The raw relish actually sparkles because the sugar crystals catch the light; that nearly imperceptible crunch blends beautifully with the crispy texture of the raw cranberries. Start as minimal as you like. Stir in a tablespoon of sugar; maybe that’s enough. Taste, then stir in the next one. Just keep going until it tastes the way you like it.
You can make Raw Cranberry Orange Relish up to 2 days ahead, and you can freeze leftovers. Due to apples and pears not holding up so well once they’re cut, I wouldn’t recommend substituting them for the orange unless you’re going to eat the relish immediately. With my feasts this time of year, I like to cook as many dishes ahead of time as possible, so I stick with orange. Of course, it’s your call.
Sparkling Raw Cranberry Orange Relish: The Recipe