March and early April can be a difficult time in the kitchen. It’s beginning to feel like spring, but the spoils have yet to show. We’ve gotten a bit too used to potatoes and turnips and stew. This recipe, developed by kitchen stalwart Greg, is a great way to buck the heavy, monotonous meals while celebrating the shoulder season.
Eat this with a bowl of steamed rice or as a punchy sidekick to grilled meats like chicken thighs or a fat ribeye. Serves 4.
Note: This salad is so easy to play around with. It should be vibrant and textural. I would encourage you to customize it to your liking but don’t be scared off by fish sauce and fresh chili peppers. Add more or less chili if you like. Crushed peanuts would be lovely. Go crazy.
~ Mike L., prepared foods leader and chef
- 1 head of green cabbage
- 1 each long red chili or jalapeno, thinly sliced
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped (or grated)
- 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped (or grated)
- 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped (keep those stems in there!)
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- Fish sauce to taste
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees with a large cast iron pan or baking tray inside. Peel off the outer few leaves from the cabbage. Cut into quarters leaving the core attached. Lightly brush or rub the cut sides of the cabbage with a bit of vegetable oil. Once the oven is preheated, place the cabbage cut side down and cook for 15 minutes, then flip to the other cut side and cook for 10 more. The cabbage should have a rich color on the cut sides while still maintaining some of its integrity.
While the cabbage is warm but easy to handle, cut at an angle to remove the core and discard. Cut the cabbage leaves in large (1-2 inch) pieces and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the fish sauce (start with 2 Tbsps), lime, and brown sugar and mix well to coat. Don’t be afraid to put some emotion into it. Next, add the chili, shallot, garlic, and ginger; mix well and taste again. The dish should be bright, pleasantly savory and have an occasional pop from the chili. Once you have dialed in your seasoning, mix in the cilantro. Serve with an extra wedge of lime.