This outrageously good supper came about one afternoon when I was craving the anchovy and parmesan dressing of a classic caesar salad. But it was cold outside and I needed more substance on the plate, so, instead of the crisp lettuce, in came wedges of chargrilled hispi cabbage, all sweet and smoky, which I laid on garlic-rubbed toasts; both were perfect for mopping up that insane dressing. I have made this dish several times since and have loved it every time – I sincerely hope you do, too.
The sprightly, refreshing parsley salad is inspired by the famously good one at St John in London, and balances the almost meaty-tasting cabbage beautifully.
Prep 30 min
Cook 15 min
2 hispi cabbage, cut through the stem into 4-6 wedges
5-6 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
Salt and black pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp white-wine vinegar
4 tbsp buttermilk
4 tbsp grated parmesan, plus extra, to serve
4 pieces sourdough toast, to serve
For the salad
1 banana shallot, peeled and finely sliced
2 big handfuls parsley leaves
2 tbsp capers
Juice of ½ lemon
Heat a griddle pan or heavy frying pan. Rub the hispi wedges all over with one or two tablespoons of oil, season lightly and grill for six to nine minutes on one cut side. Turn and repeat on the other cut side of each wedge.
Meanwhile, put a garlic clove and the anchovies in a mortar (or small food processor) with a scrunch of sea salt, and grind to a paste. Whisk in the mustard, vinegar and buttermilk, followed by the remaining four tablespoons of oil in a slow, steady stream, to make an emulsion. Stir in the grated parmesan and season to taste.
Put the shallot, parsley and capers in a medium bowl, squeeze over the lemon and season lightly.
When you are ready to eat, cut the remaining garlic clove in half and rub the cut sides over each piece of hot toast. Put a piece of toast on each of four plates, drizzle with good olive oil, then lay the warm hispi wedges on top. Spoon over the dressing, allowing it to fall into all the nooks and crannies, then grate over a little extra parmesan. Serve with a generous handful of the parsley and shallot salad on the side.
You can leave out the anchovies and still create a delicious sauce with the addition of a little extra garlic, a splash of Henderson’s relish (the veggie version of Worcestershire sauce) and, if you like, a spoonful of white miso.