Whole roasted cabbage with smoked pipis and garlic cream
We have passed through the winter solstice and with the promise of longer periods of sunlight comes the vision of verdant spring greens and new life. The reality is that we are smack bang in the time of cool soil, where what grows beneath it is what gets us through. And brassicas.
Cabbage and kale and plants that can withstand some cold are our heroes of these times. In embracing this idea I love to cook these winter vegetables and greens whole and for longer than I would normally for tender leaves. Brassicas and the iron-rich bitter greens such as chicory develop a meaty quality when treated this way so I tend to dress them as such.
It is possible to get the same result with a cabbage on a grill instead of in the oven. With careful attention and a further hour or so, the cabbage forms a hard shell with the outer charred leaves and it will effectively steam inside. Same goes for a pumpkin. Applying a weight as the vegetables cool compresses the flesh and further intensifies the meaty texture. The liquid that comes off when pressed is also a great base for dressings and vinaigrettes either used back on those vegetables or just to be made and retained for future use.
- 1 whole drumhead cabbage
- 2 heads garlic
- 300ml cream
- juice of 1 lemon
- 30ml sesame oil
- ½ packet nori sheet
- 150ml grapeseed oil
- 150ml white wine vinegar
- 600g pipis
- Set your oven to 190ºC and roast the cabbage for 2.5 hours. Remove the cabbage from the oven and as it cools place on it a weight of about one kilogram, such as a pot filled with water or something similar. Let the cabbage sit weighted for one hour.
- While the cabbage is roasting, wrap the two heads of garlic in aluminium foil and place into the 190ºC oven for 20 minutes. Remove after that time and let the garlic come back to room temperature. Meanwhile, heat the cream to boiling then squeeze the roasted garlic into the cream. Set this aside to cool before adding the lemon juice and sesame oil and mixing with a handheld blender. Push the liquid through a fine sieve and season to taste.
- In a small pot cover the nori with the grapeseed oil and roast at 190ºC for 15 minutes. Blend the warm oil with the nori until it becomes a paste. Add the white wine vinegar and cook out in the pot for about 10 minutes or until the vinegar has reduced by half.
- Steam the pipis open by bringing a pot up to a high temperature before adding the pipis with 100 millilitres of water. Cover with a lid and steam until the shells open, then remove the pipis to a bowl and shuck any remaining that have failed to open, setting the meat aside. Place the opened pipis onto a cake rack or similar and place over a smoky fire for a further 20 minutes. Shuck the meat from the shell and strain the remaining juice into the nori and vinegar oil. Bring to the boil before adding the pipi meat to the nori oil.
- Cut the cabbage in half gently before cutting the flesh of the cabbage into a crosshatch pattern while it remains inside the charred outer shell. Season the cabbage lightly with salt before dressing it liberally with the seaweed dressing. Then add the pipi meat. Finally add the garlic cream generously over the top.
This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on July 11, 2020 as "Steak holders".
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