It’s been an overwhelming couple of weeks. Turbulent and upsetting. (It’s no wonder so many people have escaped into the silly distraction that is Pokemon Go.)
I’ve distracted myself by turning my attention to the simple and the routine. Exercising, walking the dog around the neighborhood, cooking the kind of nourishing meals that I know so well I can make them without thinking.
Which brings me to this cabbage.
Cabbage. It’s such a homely vegetable. It’s easy to overlook the taut, heavy heads in the midst of the bounty of summer produce. It’s not a farmers market star like tomatoes or sweet corn or even kale.
It’s peasant food. Humble. Basic. Lacking any sort of flash.
And one of the best ways to bring out that potential is to throw it on a grill and get it charred and blackened in spots. Like most brassicas (Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower), cabbage is an absolute champ when caramelized.
This slightly smoky, umami-rich grilled cabbage salad with peanuts and mint is a great one for converting cabbage skeptics.
And it’s a cinch to make. Toss some thinly sliced red onions in lime juice to lightly pickle, dissolve some sugar in fish sauce with a bit of garlic and sambal oelek or sriracha, slice some cabbage into thick wedges and grill until charred on the edges, let cool and slice again into bite-sized pieces, toss with the onions and fish sauce mixture. Throw in handfuls of chopped peanuts and fresh mint. Devour.
That’s really it.
It’s perfect for cookouts and barbecues when you’re already firing up the grill. It’s also a great make ahead salad that can hang out at room temperature for a couple of hours or in the refrigerator overnight without wilting. Lately we’ve been eating it with grilled chicken thighs slathered in this sauce, but it would be nice alongside just about any protein, and it makes a perfect light lunch on it’s own. It’s good warm, at room temperature, or cold straight from the fridge.
It is one of the biggest reasons I am so glad we finally have a grill. We’ve been eating it just about every week this summer.
Grilled Cabbage Salad with Peanuts and Mint
- 1/4 medium red onion thinly sliced
- 1 lime
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon sambal oelek or sriracha
- 1/2 inch a head of green cabbage sliced into wedges about 1- thick
- 1/4 inch head of red cabbage sliced into wedges about 1- thick
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil such as grapeseed or canola
- 1/3 cup peanuts chopped
- a big handful of fresh mint chopped
- Add the red onion to a small bowl, slice the lime in half and juice it over the bowl. Set aside to pickle while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Add the sugar, fish sauce, garlic, and sambal oelek to a small saucepan, and heat over medium, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved. Let cool.
- Heat your grill to a medium high heat and clean the grill grates with a stiff brush.
- In a large bowl, add the cabbage wedges and lightly coat with oil.
- Grill the cabbage until charred and blackened along the edges, but still a bit crunchy in the middle, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Return the cabbage to the bowl and let it sit until cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes or so.
- Transfer the cabbage to a cutting board, removing any leaves that are completely burnt to a crisp, and remove the core. Slice thinly. Transfer to a large bowl, add the onion and lime juice and the fish sauce mixture and toss to coat.
- Add the peanuts and mint and toss again. Serve.