Charred Cabbage with Ricotta Salata and Buttermilk Dressing Recipe

Turn the humble cabbage into a memorable vegetarian side dish by giving it a flavorful char and a drizzle of homemade buttermilk dressing.
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Serves 4 
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes


for the toasted hazelnuts:
½ cup|70 grams skin-on, raw hazelnuts

for the buttermilk dressing:
¾ cup|190 ml buttermilk
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, grated  
1 lemon, zested and juiced 
¼ cup|10 grams chives, minced
¼ cup|13 grams tarragon, leaves removed and minced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


for the charred cabbage:
1 medium heads of green or purple cabbage, trimmed and cut into eight pieces (leave the core intact)
4 tablespoons|60 ml olive oil 
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons|56 grams unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, peeled
¼ cup|60 ml chardonnay vinegar

to serve:
shaved ricotta salata cheese
fronds of 1 bulb of fennel, roughly chopped
freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Toast the hazelnuts: Heat the oven to 350°F. Place the hazelnuts on a sheet tray in a single even layer. Place in the center of the oven and toast until lightly brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and wrap the nuts in a kitchen towel to steam for 1 minute. Use the towel to rub the nut exteriors to remove any residual skin. Let cool, roughly chop, and set aside.
  2. Make the buttermilk dressing: In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk and creme fraiche. Whisk in the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and zest, then fold in the chives and tarragon. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Char the cabbage: Coat all sides of the cabbage pieces in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large cast iron pan over medium-high. Place 4 pieces of the cabbage, cut side down, in the pan. Lower the heat to medium-low, then add 2 tablespoons of the butter and 1 or 2 cloves of garlic. Sear, flipping once and basting every few minutes with the butter until the cabbage is fork tender and charred, about 10 minutes. Remove the cabbage from the pan and cool slightly. Drizzle with the vinegar and season with salt. Repeat this process with the remaining cabbage pieces, butter, and garlic and transfer to a serving platter.
  4. To serve: Drizzle the buttermilk dressing generously over the charred cabbage. Top with the hazelnuts, ricotta salata, and fennel fronds and grind on some black pepper.

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