I gathered all the cooks in the kitchen and told them to hold out their hands. We were preparing to season a case of cabbage (bap cai) and I wanted everyone to know what they were getting in to.

I had contacted Red Boat, makers of the best fish sauce on the planet, a couple weeks ago to order a sack of their insanely umami-rich anchovy salt, and my contact at the company had happily agreed to ship it to Texas. Time to hit the test kitchen. Cabbage is one of my all time favorite soul food vegetables. Fried, steamed, stewed or simmered, cabbage is one of nature’s perfect foods.

But I had never roasted it.

Ingredients:

One each Cabbage, head

Spray olive oil

Red Boat Anchovy Salt

Method:

* Cut each head into eight hunks in the fashion of iceberg lettuce being prepared “wedge style”

* Spray liberally with olive oil

* Lightly dust each wedge with anchovy salt

* Roast at 300 degrees for 30-40 minutes til cabbage is soft and lightly charred on the tips

the reaction from the crowd of eaters? Lots of ranting and raving, particularly from people who claimed that they do not “like cabbage” but then proceeded to wolf it down.

Red Boat anchovies are harvested from the waters off the Phu Quoc Island archipelago. The fish sauce is created by storing these anchovies in mango barrels for one year.

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