Friday, January 29, 2010

Roasted Cabbage: Mon Petit Chou

Can I tell you a little secret?  I love cabbage.  I know, I know.  Poor cabbage has an image problem.  People think cabbage is stinky, bland, boring, cheap.  It's the working-class, hardy, reliable veg that gets overshadowed by its fancy, ritzy neighbors in the produce section.  The leeks, the beets, the fennel, the white asparagus -- they all seem so much more glamorous than the sturdy cabbage. 

But cabbage has so much to offer!  A small, fresh cabbage is surprisingly sweet.  And they keep for days on end in the crisper drawer, which means they are like a little gift near the end of the week, when you've already burned through those frou-frou veggies that couldn't take another day in the fridge.  (Cabbage will wait for you.)  And as long as you don't boil cabbage to death, it is a real pleasure to eat.  And if all that didn't convince you, consider this:  "mon petit chou" is a French term of endearment.  It means "my little cabbage."  And we can all agree that the French know a thing or two about food, love, and life, can we not?  I rest my case.

I love green cabbage braised in cream, red cabbage shredded and tossed in a lemon-pepper dressing, and even a homemade coleslaw with curried mayo, nuts, and dried cranberries.  But all those cabbage preparations have been overshadowed by my new favorite recipe:  Roasted Cabbage with Lemon.  You may already know of my intense love of all roasted veggies.  And yet I had never thought of roasting cabbage until I saw it in the January issue of Martha Stewart Living.  I tried it immediately and we've had it once a week ever since.  I even ate about 3/4s of a small, roasted cabbage as my entire dinner the other night.  (Although, to be fair, that was because the French Vegetable Stew I made to go with the cabbage was completely awful.  So while the French may know a thing or two about food, perhaps I do not.)

This recipe takes advantage of cabbage's natural sweetness, as some of the sugar carmelizes as it roasts and browns.  Then the lemon squeezed over it complements the sweetness perfectly.  Even better, this recipe is as easy as it comes.  Perfect even for the beginners out there. 

So pick yourself up a petit chou this week and get ready to fall in love.

Source:  adapted from Martha Stewart Living, Jan. 2010 issue
  • 1 small, green cabbage
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Remove any loose, dirty or bruised outer leaves from your cabbage.  Trim the stem and then cut the cabbage in half.  Then cut each half into four wedges, trying to preserve a bit of core on each wedge, to help hold them together. 
  3. Arrange wedges on a rimmed baking sheet.  Brush the wedges generously with olive oil on all sides.  (Martha called for just 1/2 tsp. of oil, but I easily use a full tablespoon or so.  Also, if you don't have a brush, just lightly pat them with oil -- I even let my 2 yr. old do that recently and they turned out fine.)  Sprinkle generously with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper.
  4. Roast for about 10-15 mins. and then carefully flip.  Roast for another 10-15 mins.  (I like mine to get some good color, so I go pretty long.  But do check every now and again!)
  5. Squeeze the lemon over the cabbage and serve. 


  1. well, I for one will give it a go. The last time I bought a cabbage it was after the twins were born. I did not eat the cabbage. It resolved other issues.

    So, I will try this as I love lemon in and on just about anything!

    So, have you ever made Colcannon? The irish mashed potatoes with cabbage in them.

  2. Ah, I know the old cabbage trick! ;-)

    Yes, I made Colcannon once and was thinking of it recently. I'm guessing I'll be craving it once March hits . . . I always want to break out the old Irish music, make soda bread, and have baked beans on toast for breakfast once I realize St. Pat's is coming!

  3. I love the idea of roasted cabbage! Can't wait to try it. I love roasted anything... but, never thought of roasting cabbage.

    Have you tried roasted kale? I LOVE it. Same concept- lightly coat torn leaves with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast until it is crispy. It's better than a bowl of popcorn!

  4. Heath, that's the second time this week that roasted kale has come up . . . time for me to try it! I'll pick some up next time I shop and report back. ;-)

  5. Ok, Heather, I tried the roasted kale today and am officially an addict! I ate the better part of two large bunches of kale, straight off the pan. Thanks for that tip!

  6. Meg- we made roasted cabbage last night and it is giving roasted kale a run for its money! Crisy in parts, soft in parts, sweet and tangy- all rolled into each bite. I could have eaten the whole cabbage myself, but decided to let Q have some, too. Thanks for the idea!

  7. I do this with romain, but never with cabbage. I will try it .... yum and yum!

  8. Here's some more French for you...
    recette de chou délicieux!
    Thanks for posting.