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Cook this: Grilled cabbage with chili garlic butter from Chasing Smoke

'This is hands down the best way to eat any cabbage,' say Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich

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Our cookbook of the week is Chasing Smoke: Cooking Over Fire Around the Levant by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich. Over the next three days, we’ll feature more recipes from the book and an interview with the authors.

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To try another recipe from the book, check out: Ribeye steak with smoky pepper salad; and grilled stone fruits with rosemary and rose syrup.

“Cabbage is an unsung hero,” says chef Itamar Srulovich of Honey & Co., a group of three Middle Eastern restaurants in London, England. Sarit Packer, his wife and Honey & Co. co-founder, interjects: “For me, it’s a hero. I’m a big fan.”

For fellow enthusiasts, this recipe speaks for itself; for those on the fence, you’re likely to arrive at a new appreciation. Charring it on a hot grill brings out the best in the brassica, giving it a greater depth of flavour.

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  1. Ribeye steak with smoky pepper salad from Chasing Smoke.

    Cook this: Ribeye steak with smoky pepper salad from Chasing Smoke

  2. Grilled stone fruits with rosemary and rose syrup from Chasing Smoke.

    Cook this: Grilled stone fruits with rosemary and rose syrup

  3. Chefs Sarit Packer, right, and Itamar Srulovich are the founders of Honey & Co. in London, England and the authors of four cookbooks.

    'Chasing Smoke': Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich on the beauty of cooking over fire

“We are lovers of cabbage, but on the grill like that, it just becomes one of the tastiest things,” adds Srulovich. “The dressing is amazing with the garlic and dill, so it’s one that will surprise.”

As delicious as it is, pouring over the chili-garlic butter dressing is an optional finishing touch. White cabbage’s natural sweetness is enhanced by its brief time on the grill — it needs nothing more than a scattering of flaky sea salt: “just grill a cabbage and eat it.”

Chasing Smoke: Cooking Over Fire Around the Levant by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich
In Chasing Smoke, chefs Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich take readers on a culinary journey to Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan and Turkey. Photo by Pavilion Books

GRILLED CABBAGE WITH CHILI GARLIC BUTTER

1 large, round white cabbage
2 tbsp olive oil
Flaky sea salt

For the dressing:
2 banana shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2 red chilies, halved, deseeded and thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
100 g (3 1/2 oz) butter
1 tsp flaky sea salt
1 small bunch of dill, fronds roughly chopped

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Grilled cabbage with chili garlic butter from Chasing Smoke
Grilled cabbage with chili garlic butter from Chasing Smoke. Photo by Patricia Niven

Step 1

Cut the cabbage into four or six wedges, depending on how large it is, and brush the cut surfaces with olive oil. Set the wedges cut-side down on a very hot grill to char for 4 minutes, then flip and grill the other cut surface for 4 minutes. Finally set the wedges on their rounded sides for a final 4 minutes, just to soften the cabbage a little. Remove to a platter and sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt.

Step 2

While the cabbage is charring, combine the shallots, chili and garlic with the butter and set in a small pan on the side of the grill over a low- moderate heat, enough to just melt the butter and lightly confit the vegetables. Stir occasionally, cooking for about 12–14 minutes or until the shallots are soft and look translucent. Remove from the heat, add the salt and chopped dill and mix well. Pour the butter dressing all over the warm cabbage and serve straight away for best results.

Serves: 4 as a starter or 8 as a side

To Cook Without a BBQ

Use a lightly oiled, preheated griddle pan on your stove top and cook the cabbage wedges just as you would on the fire. Prepare the dressing on your stove too, in a small pan over a low heat.

Recipe and image excerpted from Chasing Smoke: Cooking Over Fire Around the Levant by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich. Copyright © Pavilion Books Company Ltd 2021. Text copyright © Saritamar Media Ltd 2021. Photography © Patricia Niven 2021. Reproduced by arrangement with the publishers.

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