Apart from its often-pungent smell, I'm not sure why this veggie gets a bad rap. Its flavor isn't really that strong and its texture can be transformed from crisp and crunchy, to soft and pliable, depending on the method and length of cooking. I may be picky when it comes to peppers and olives, but I've never met a cabbage I didn't like. That being said, some preparations are certainly less palatable than others (sauerkraut, anyone?) and I sort of understand when people say they have trouble getting past the smell.
While this recipe isn't guaranteed to be odor-free, it is guaranteed delicious. Even cabbage-hating friends have been wooed by the crisp, golden inoffensiveness of a roasted cabbage. And the addition of lemon and garlic adds a bit of unexpected flavor. I always think roasted veggies are perfect for winter, and cabbage is a good source of vitamin C - which is a nice bonus for those, like me, fighting off seasonal nasties.
Roasted Cabbage with Lemon and Garlic
1 medium head cabbage, cored and cut into thick wedges
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)
1 clove garlic, crushed and finely minced (optional)
Coarse salt and ground pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and brush with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Brush cabbage wedges with olive oil mixture (be careful as they tend to fall apart - if it helps, you can leave a bit of the core in until after cooking!) and place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until cabbage is tender and edges are browned (don't be alarmed if some of the edges appear slightly burnt - that's where the flavor is!), about 20-30 minutes. If you're feeling brave, flip your wedges half way through for more even browning. Serve as a side dish or as an unexpected salad alternative.
A few notes: The trickiest part of this whole recipe is getting your cabbage wedges to stay together (and as you can see above, I wasn't entirely successful). You can leave a bit of the core in, as mentioned, but just remember to remove before serving as it may still be tough and inedible! Don't worry too much if your wedges fall apart - they may not look pretty, but they'll still taste good.
Personally, I prefer this recipe without the hint of lemon. But then again, I already love cabbage. If you're not sure, cut the amount of lemon to 1 teaspoon or try half with and half without. Don't worry, this recipe makes a lot of cabbage! For those who like to experiment, I could see this going well with a splash of balsamic vinegar, or maybe even a reduction. Meat eaters may want to sprinkle it with bits of bacon. Cabbage is a great blank canvas, so have some fun with it!
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