Cabbage Baked in Embers with Yogurt, Sumac, and Lemon Zest
Who would have thought that the most popular dish on the Charcoal menu would be cabbage?! We bury a whole head of plain ol’ green cabbage and cook it in blistering coals until the outer leaves are caramelized and give way to a soft, steamed interior. Because of its size and density, cabbage lends itself well to the smoldering embers of the fire, where it transforms and emerges juicy, smoky, and meaty. Trust me, even people who think they don’t like cabbage—they’ve only had watery coleslaw or bland cabbage soup—go nuts for this addictive starter dish. Served warm, the charred cabbage leaves play off the coolness of the yogurt dipping sauce, which is fragrant with citrusy sumac and lemon. It’s simple enough to add another head or two of cabbage for a gathering, and any leftovers you can slice into ribbons to top tacos. Be sure to try the yogurt sauce over any of your favorite grilled vegetables, such as eggplant, or use it as a dressing spooned over fresh tomato salad.
• 1 large head green cabbage (about 2 pounds)
• Extra-virgin olive oil
• Fine sea salt
• 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
• Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
• Juice of ½ lemon
• 1 teaspoon sumac
1.Transfer the grill grate from a charcoal grill and build a hot fire with lump charcoal until red-hot. Rub the cabbage lightly with olive oil and season generously with salt, ensuring that all sides are well coated. Put on your fireproof gloves. Make a well in the center of the coals using a rake or shovel, and carefully add the cabbage. Use the rake or shovel to bury the cabbage completely by covering it with the surrounding hot coals. You may grill something on top at the same time if desired. Close the lid to keep the heat in and to prevent the charcoal from burning out too quickly. You want to maintain the temperature at about 400°F by adjusting the vents.
2.The cabbage should be completely charred and black on all sides and tender in the center in about 1 hour; check by piercing with a cake tester or paring knife. If it’s not done, continue roasting in the coals for 5 more minutes. If you are preparing the cabbage ahead, wrap tightly in aluminum foil and keep it warm in a low oven.
3.In a small mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, chives, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sumac until smooth.
4.Cut the cabbage through the core into quarters. Cut the core out of each piece. Arrange the cabbage wedges on a serving platter and season lightly with salt. Rip off the cabbage leaves with your fingers and dip into the sauce.
Copyright © 2019 by Josiah Citrin and JoAnn Cianciulli. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.