It’s February, we are in lockdown AGAIN and in the grip of the so-called ‘hungry gap’. A period of time that spans from January until early May. When, if you’re eating seasonally, there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of variety in the vegetable department. Well think again, because you’re about to get very excited about a vegetable that has arguably the worst reputation of all, cabbage!
For most of us, the word cabbage used to be synonymous with the word boiled (and boiled, and boiled, and boiled). Whether by well meaning relatives or unenchanted school dinner ladies, it was always something to be dreaded and avoided if possible.
Well I’m going to be bold and say that it is among my favourite vegetables, capable of the biggest transformation of all. Given the right amount of heat, fat and seasoning, the depth of flavour is unreal. If you don’t have the time or inclination to do this particular recipe, I implore you, next time you’re cooking cabbage, pan fry it on a medium heat with plenty of butter and seasoning until it’s golden brown in places and softened. You will never look back.
Pan roasted cabbage with miso and orange butter, with togarashi, sushi rice and a fried egg
1 medium savoy cabbage, two hispi cabbages are a good substitute
2 tbsp miso paste
10 tbsp salted butter
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 small orange zested
2 small oranges juiced
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 small orange zested
3 tbsp white sesame seeds
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 sheet of nori
1 tsp sichuan peppercorns
½ tsp ground ginger
250g sushi rice
330ml water, plus water to wash
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2tbsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
- After you finish cooking the night before, when the oven is still warm but turned off, zest an orange and spread the zest out on a piece of baking parchment. Place it in the oven overnight to dry out.
- Toast the sesame and poppy seeds, add to a bowl with the ginger and dried orange zest.
- Grind the sichuan peppercorns and the nori in an electric spice grinder if you have one. If not use a pestle and mortar for the sichuan and use a sharp knife to cut the nori into very thin ribbons, line them up and cut across again so that they are in tiny flakes. Add these to the bowl and mix.
- Melt everything together on a low heat until fully incorporated
- Always follow the packet instructions for the brand you have, as sushi rice varies a lot, but here are some instructions if there isn’t any.
- Wash the rice three of four times submerged in water, until the water stays clear.
- Soak the rice for 15-30 minutes to ensure even cooking, then drain well.
- While it’s soaking, in a little ramekin, mix the 3tbsp rice wine vinegar, 2tbsp white sugar and 1tsp salt and set aside.
- Add the rice with 330ml of cold water to a pan (ideally non stick or a rice cooker) with the lid on, bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the lid on for another 10 minutes.
- Stir the seasoning through the rice.
- Preheat the oven to 190c
- Cut your cabbage into 8 wedges, retaining some root at the centre of each wedge to hold it together.
- Heat a non stick frying pan to medium high with a little vegetable oil, add half of the wedges or as many as will fit cut side down and fry on each side for 3-5 or until golden and caramelised on each cut side.
- Add the wedges to a deep sided baking tray, pour over the miso butter to cover every part, add a splash of water, cover with foil.
- Roast for 15 minutes then remove the foil, turn the wedges over in the butter and roast for another 5-10 minutes or until a knife slides easily into the root.
- Fry four eggs.
- Divide the rice and cabbage wedges between four plates, spoon over some miso butter from the roasting dish, top each with a fried egg and a sprinkle of togarashi.
- If you like, serve with kewpie mayonnaise and sushi ginger.