If Julia Child is the patron saint of French cooking and Dorie Greenspan is our baking fairy godmother, then our Queen of Greens is Deborah Madison, author of 11 cookbooks, and for many years the driving force behind the beacon of high-end vegetarian dining, Greens, in San Francisco. In her newest tome, Vegetable Literacy, Madison brings fresh inspiration to the herbivorous realm, focusing on not just how to cook vegetables, legumes and seeds, but also how to cultivate and nurture them in the garden. From gone-to-seed cilantro buds tossed with lentils and walnuts to a radish-top soup and this wonderfully aromatic, bready cabbage panade, we can think of no better mentor to have by our side in--and out--of the kitchen.
Recipe adapted from Deborah Madison, "Vegetable Literacy" (Ten Speed)
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
5 cups water
6 whole, peeled garlic cloves
12 fresh sage leaves
1 dried bay leaf
1 garlic clove, halved
3 tablespoons unsalted butter plus 1 tablespoon at room temperature
1 yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
½ teaspoon juniper berries, crushed
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped sage leaves
1 small head green cabbage or Savoy cabbage (about 2 pounds)--quartered, cored and cut crosswise into ½-inch-wide ribbons
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus extra if needed
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 slices dark or light rye bread
1 cup grated Swiss, Gruyère or Teleme cheese
1. Make the garlic stock: In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, add the water, garlic cloves, sage leaves and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes. Strain the garlic stock through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids.
2. While the stock cooks, start the panade: Preheat the oven to 350°. Rub a 2-quart gratin dish with the halved garlic clove and the room-temperature butter. In a large, deep skillet set over medium heat, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onion, juniper berries and sage and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to brown and soften, about 10 minutes. Add the cabbage and ½ cup of the garlic stock to the skillet. Season with 1 tablespoon of the salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Season the cabbage with the pepper and more salt if needed.
3. Transfer half of the cabbage to the prepared gratin dish. Layer with the rye bread slices and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Top with a single layer of the rye bread slices and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Add the remaining cabbage and pour the remaining garlic stock over the top. Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake until the cabbage is bubbling and the edges of the cabbage leaves are browned, about 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before dividing the cabbage onto plates or into bowls. Serve drizzled with any remaining juices from the baking dish.